Essays

Long form essays and reflections from members of the CHE community.

The Kickapoo River and geological features, as seen from a boat.

Citizen Management in a Contested Landscape

An ecologically diverse nature reserve in Wisconsin’s famed Driftless Area thrives today because of state, tribal, and local collaboration.

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Erratic Monuments to a Melting World

As glaciers melt, they leave behind abandoned rocks and other erratics. This photo essay of the Alaskan wilderness explores how glacial erratics are time travelers, treasure troves, reliquaries, and rubble.

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A psychogeographic represenation of friendship as depicted in artwork. It maps the paths between the homes of two friends, superimposed over an imagined landscape of the mind.

What A Card Game Teaches Us About Moving Through A City

The geography of a city can compel people to behave in predictable patterns. A new card game challenges players to rethink and explore urban spaces.

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The Immigrants Who Supplied the Smithsonian’s Fish Collection

The Smithsonian’s fish collection preserves not just specimens but the labor and knowledge of immigrant fishermen on the California coast.

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Scope of Daylight Saving Movement

When We Repealed Daylight Saving Time

In 1922, 16 states and 137 cities followed Daylight Saving Time—and the rest of the country did not. Repealing Daylight Saving Time only made the map of national temporal borders more complex, causing heartbreak and confusion at the border.

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The Wisconsin Idea in action. Byron Crouse (right), associate dean in the School of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, meets with Jim Fahey (left), the owner of Praireland Dairy near Belleville, Wisconsin. Crouse has helped to create Co-op Care, a program designed to increase the number of farmers and other rural business owners that have access to affordable health insurance programs with benefits that include preventative services. Photo by Bryce Richter, December 2008. Courtesy of UW–Madison University Communications. 

Rural People and Academic Elites Saved Higher Education Once. They Can Do It Again.

Rural resentment is nothing new. When one university reckoned with it a century ago, it convinced farmers that the university worked for them—and improved itself in the process.

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Ecological Homes: Making Women, Men, and Nature

At the New Alchemy Institute’s bioshelters, green technologies promised social revolution. But women still found themselves stuck with the dishes.

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Cottonwoods in Concrete: A Call for Collaborative Survival among Ruins

A forest sprouting from a levee in eastern Washington offers a model for flood management, if only we notice it.

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A portrait of a young Napoleon Bonaparte in military dress starting at the viewer with a white mountain and blue clouds behind him.

Painting an Empire: Landscapes of Napoleon’s Dreams in Haiti

French landscape painting during the Haitian Revolution lays bare colonial concern for controlling both people and the environment.

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The American Recycling Myth

Why do we recycle? American consumers have learned to think of recycling as a local activity, but a recent Chinese ban on imported solid waste may force us to see the ways that recycling is a global industry.

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