Faculty news from the Environmental Studies Program

We are delighted to share with you four very positive news items regarding our faculty.

First, Nicolas Howe, formerly assistant professor of Environmental Studies, has been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.  Nick, who received his Ph.D. in Geography from UCLA, has been at Williams since 2010, when he spent a year here as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow.  Nick’s great success as a postdoctoral visitor led to his being offered a tenure-track assistant professorship in Environmental Studies beginning in 2011; his continued stellar teaching and scholarship have now led to his promotion to the rank of Associate Professor.  Next year Nick will teach a variety of courses, among them “Nature and Society,” our introductory environmental studies course, also “Environmental Humanities: Theory and Practice,” and “The Anthropocene.”  Among Nick’s recent scholarly achievements are two books, Climate Change as Social Drama: Global Warming in the Public Sphere, co-authored with Philip Smith, Cambridge University Press, 2015, and Landscapes of the Secular: Law, Religion, and American Sacred Space, published by The University of Chicago Press in 2016.

The second wonderful development is that we have added a third tenure-track faculty member to our staff.  Laura Jane Martin is our new Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies, increasing our tenure-track faculty by 50%.  Laura, very appropriately for a faculty member in Environmental Studies, is a rara avis.  Laura received her Ph.D. in Natural Resources from Cornell University in 2015, slowly evolving from a conservation biologist to a scholar with a focus on environmental history, science and technology studies, and the humanities.  Laura has spent the past two years as a Ziff Environmental Fellow at Harvard’s Center for the Environment and Department of the History of Science.  Along with an impressively long list of published articles, Laura already has a book contract from Harvard University Press for Saving Species: The History and Politics of Ecological Restoration.  This coming year Laura will teach a section of Nature and Society, also New England Environmental History, Environmental Justice, and Biodiversity and Climate Change.

The third wonderful development is that Pia Kohler will be returning from leave.  Next year Pia will teach a seminar, “Environmental Problems: Social Causes, Consequences, and Policy Solutions,” also “Dirty Politics: Regulating Hazardous Chemicals and Wastes,” “Science and Politics in Environmental Decision Making,” and “Global Environmental Politics.”

We are also very happy to report that Les Beldo, our current Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, will be back with us for a second year.  Les taught two very successful courses for us this year, “The Whale” and “Animal Biocapital and the Politics of Meat,” and will be teaching them again this coming year.  Les is hard at work on turning his Ph.D. thesis into a book manuscript.