Commentary

Commentary from the CHE community on current events, contemporary issues, and scholarly debates.

The Monuments We Never Built

Charlottesville reminds us that a full reckoning with our landscapes of commemoration requires we ask not only what stories they tell, but also what stories they don’t.

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An acorn propped up by its root, which stills into a green moss-covered slope.

The Wild Bunch: A Conversation with Curt Meine and Gavin Van Horn

An important new essay collection avoids the old arguments about wilderness and instead offers 26 meditations on living well in our places.

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The (Built) Environmental Revolution: A Conversation with Sarah Williams Goldhagen

We know nature is good for our brains. Can buildings be, too? A preeminent architectural critic calls for a radical shift in how we design the places where we live, work, and play.

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President Lyndon Johnson (left) and Vice President Spiro Agnew (right) watch the Apollo 11 Liftoff at Kennedy Space Center on July 16, 1969. Photo by NASA/Apollo 11.

NASA and the Explosive 1960s: A Conversation with Neil Maher

The author of the new book “Apollo in the Age of Aquarius” shows how NASA shaped, and was shaped by, 1960s environmentalism, feminism, conservatism, counterculture, antiwar protests, and the black freedom struggle.

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A portrait of the writer William deBuys. Photo by Ben Moscona.

Hunting a Unicorn: A Conversation with William deBuys

The preeminent environmental writer and conservationist ventures into the mountains of Laos to find one of Earth’s rarest creatures and returns believing well-crafted narratives showcasing the beauty of nature can help to fight the Sixth Extinction.

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A booth set up by the Department of Entomology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison on State Street during Earth Week. Photo by Michael Sievers, 1970.

The Trouble with the March for Science: A Conversation with Adam Rome

What if today’s climate activists acted more like the scientists who spoke out on the first Earth Day?

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A Syllabus for Teaching Water Politics

A new syllabus outlines a series of readings for teaching the politics of water.

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The City of Chicago / sketched & drawn on stone by Parsons & Atwater. https://www.loc.gov/item/90715977/

Nature’s Metropolis Turns 25: A Conversation with William Cronon

An urban history nearly devoid of people nonetheless holds lessons for communal human life today.

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A photograph of Jedediah Purdy, taken by Brian Hamilton, March 2017.

Politics for a Maimed World: A Conversation with Jedediah Purdy

The acclaimed cultural critic and author of “After Nature” set off to explore the uncharted depths of the Anthropocene. But he found Thoreau there waiting for him.

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A portrait of Dr. Tyrone Hayes. Photo by Brian Hamilton, February 17, 2017.

Learning from Einstein and Tupac: A Conversation with Tyrone Hayes

The biologist who became famous standing up to agribusiness reflects on the politics of science, getting mistaken for a conspiracy theorist, and the unexpected ways race and gender matter in the academy today.

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