Essays

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

Designing Seeds and Laboratories for the Green Revolution

The modernism of the Green Revolution is visible not only in the genes of seeds developed by agronomists, but also in the architecture of the campuses and laboratories where those seeds were engineered.

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The Thomas Fire Fans the Flames of Southern California’s Housing Crisis

The Thomas Fire continues to rage, bringing devastation and exacerbating existing inequality.

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How a $750 Down Jacket is Dividing College Campuses

When students critique outdoor fashion on campus, their views reveal gendered, ethnic, and regional stereotypes at play in the local meaning of international brands.

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An aerial view of Fordlandia

Five Reasons Why Henry Ford’s Failure in Brazil Still Matters Today

In this quick guide to Henry Ford’s lasting impact in the Amazon, the director of Beyond Fordlândia shares the untold stories of violence, pollution, and activism he uncovered while filming the new documentary.

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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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