think tank explores ways to visualize environmental change

COE Think Tank
2021-22 Think Tank members, from top left: Olivia Baglieri ’22, Dylan Judd, Jennifer Raynor, Skye Hawthorne, Alton C. Byers, Helen Poulos, Suzanne O’Connell, Courtney Fullilove, Antonio Machado-Allison.

Each academic year, the COE gathers a small group of Wesleyan faculty members, a scholar of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. The aim of the COE Think Tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking and action on the issue. The Think Tank theme for 2021-22 is visualizing environmental change.

Our 2021-22 COE Think Tank faculty fellows are: Suzanne O’Connell, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science; Jennifer Raynor, assistant professor of economics; Courtney Fullilove, associate professor of history; Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies; Antonio Machado-Allison, university professor in the College of the Environment; and Alton C. Byers, senior research scientist at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTARR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder and this year’s Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment. Olivia Baglieri ’22, Dylan Judd ’22, and Skye Hawthorne ’22 will also be joining the Think Tank as student fellows this academic year.

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coe think tank explores habitability

2020-21 COE Think Tank fellows (l to r): Victoria Smolkin, David Grinspoon, Mary-Jane Rubenstein, Antonio Machado-Allison, Helen Poulos, Martha Gilmore.

Each academic year, the COE gathers a small group of Wesleyan faculty members, a scholar of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. The aim of the COE Think Tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking and action on the issue. The Think Tank theme for 2020-21 is Habitability: Cosmological, Planetary & Ethical Perspectives.

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machado-allison teaches first-ever envs course taught in spanish

This spring, Wesleyan will offer its first-ever ENVS course taught in Spanish, ENVS283/LAST383, Venezuela: The Effect of Oil Discovery on People, the Environment, and Democracy. The course will be taught by Antonio Machado-Allison, former Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment and current research fellow in the College of the Environment. He was recently named a member of the Academia de Ciencias de América Latina.

Antonio Machado-Allison

Tell us about ENVS283. Why are you focusing on Venezuela?
Antonio Machado-Allison (AMA): Being a Venezuelan scholar and witnessing what is happening in my country, one way I think I can help my people is to let citizens of other countries know how Venezuela arrived at these conditions. In the course we will discuss the key factors that have affected the development of Venezuela and its environment from the pre-colonial period to the present through the reading of interdisciplinary literature that includes anthropology, religion, sociology, environmental sciences, law, and history. Ultimately, we will examine the factors that have led to the collapse of democracy in Venezuela.

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what on earth are they saying: listening and learning beyond the human

Meaning and language are commonly thought to be the exclusive province of humans. But is this thinking simply our own anthropocentric conceit? On November 2, 2019, Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment Charles Siebert led a discussion about the nature of meaning in the world, the myriad of forms in which it manifests, and the many ways in which they inform our place in the world. The discussion, What on Earth Are They Saying: Listening and Learning Beyond the Human, was the 17th Annual Where on Earth Are We Going? seminar sponsored by the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the College of the Environment.

From top left: Tony Hatch, Sara McCrea ’21, Kari Weil, Camille Britton ’20, Charles Siebert, Helen Poulos, Courtney Weiss Smith, Antonio Machado-Allison, Melissa Thornton ’20

Charles Siebert is the author of three critically acclaimed memoirs, The Wauchula Woods Accord: Toward a New Understanding of Animals, A Man After His Own Heart, and Wickerby: An Urban Pastoral, a New York Times Notable Book of 1998, as well as a novel, Angus; an e-book Rough Beasts: The Zanesville Zoo Massacre One Year Later; and a children’s book, The Secret World of Whales. A poet, journalist, essayist, and contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine, he has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Vanity Fair, Esquire, Outside, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, and numerous other publications. He presently teaches creative writing at NYU Abu Dhabi.

Siebert’s seminar was followed by a panel discussion with COE Think Tank members Camille Britton ‘20; Anthony Hatch, associate professor and chair, Science in Society Program; Antonio Machado-Allison, visiting scholar, College of the Environment; Sara McCrea ‘21; Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of Environmental Studies; Charles Siebert,; Courtney Weiss Smith, associate professor of English; Melissa Thornton ‘20; and Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters.

think tank explores beyond the human

Each academic year the COE gathers a small group of Wesleyan faculty members, a scholar of prominence from outside Wesleyan, and a small group of undergraduate students into a year-long academic think tank on a critical environmental issue. The aim of the think tank is not only to generate a deeper understanding of the thematic issue, but also to produce scholarly works that will influence national/international thinking and action on the issue.  This year’s Think Tank theme: Meaningful Worlds: Listening and Learning Beyond the Human.

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thinking outside the box: meet our 2019-20 think tank faculty

Each year, our COE Think Tank brings together Wes students and faculty from across the university, plus a noted outside scholar, for a yearlong conversation on a topic of vital environmental importance. This year’s focus: how humans relate to and value the non-human part of the world. Learn more about questions our 2018-19 faculty fellows have been pondering this year.

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