← ES Faculty & Staff
Dr. Jim Feldman
I am a professor of Environmental Studies & History at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, and the director of the Environmental Studies Program. My research and teaching interests include American and global environmental history, wilderness, radioactive waste, and sustainability. Outside of all that, I do a lot of parenting, cooking, walking, canoeing, and rooting for Chicago sports teams.
Curriculum Vitae Link
As an American environmental historian and an environmental studies scholar, I have always been attracted to topics that have modern policy implications. My first book focused on the relationship between wilderness and history–trying to help understand the boundary between nature and culture in a wilderness setting. My second project has focused on a very different nature/culture boundary–the history of our search for a geologic repository to store radioactive waste.
Current Research Projects
◈ EMBAST–an interdisciplinary research team pursuing a National Science Foundation-funded project to study Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) in the Lake Winnebago Pool Lakes. Our goal is to study how these blooms influence the way people in the region think about place and sustainability, and also to think about how we might approach and solve this complicated problem in new and effective ways.
◈ Our Waste, Our Problem: History, Sustainability, and Radioactive Waste (a book-length project on the search for a geologic repository to store radioactive waste in the U.S.)
Selected Articles and Book Chapters:
- Feldman, James, “Permanence, Justice, and Nuclear Waste at Prairie Island,” in Nuclear Portraits: Communities, the Environment, and Public Policy, ed. Laurel McDowell, University of Toronto Press, 2017.
- Feldman, James, “Border Ecologies in the Boundary Waters,” in Border Flows: A Century of Canadian-American Border Relations, ed. Lynne Heasley and Daniel MacFarlane, University of Calgary Press, 2016.
- Feldman, James, “Working in Nature, Playing in Wilderness: Race, Class, and Environmental History in the Apostle Islands,” in Working on Earth: Class and Environmental Justice, ed. Christina Robertson and Jennifer Westerman, University of Nevada Press, 2015.
- Feldman, James, “The Need for Legible Landscapes,” George Wright Forum 28 (no. 2, 2011): 148-160.
- Feldman, James, “’Spontaneous’ Rewilding of the Apostle Islands” in Restoration and History: The Search for a Usable Environmental Past, ed. Marc Hall, Routledge Press, 2009.
- Feldman, James, and Lynne Heasley, “Recentering North American Environmental History: Pedagogy and Scholarship in the Great Lakes Region,” Environmental History. Vol. 12, No. 4, Oxford UP, 2007.
- Feldman, James, “The View from Sand Island: Reconsidering the Peripheral Economy,” Western Historical Quarterly, Vol. 35, Issue 3, 2004, pp. 285–307.
- Feldman, James, “Radioactive Waste, Public Debate, and Environmental Justice at Prairie Island,” in Nature’s Crossroads: The Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, ed. George Vrtis and Christopher J. Wells (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2023).
I teach courses in history and environmental studies–courses that focus on the way that human interactions with the natural world have changed over time. Many of these courses follow my research interests in wilderness, nuclear issues, and sustainability.
Check out this short article about my teaching!
(Published in: Endeavors –UW Oshkosh magazine)
Courses & Syllabi:
ES 101: Intro to Environmental Studies
The goal of this class is to provide an introduction to the field of environmental studies by using an interdisciplinary perspective to explore the complex relationships between humans and the natural world, in the U.S. and around the globe.
ES 282: Environmental Humanities
This interdisciplinary humanities course examines how social, religious, aesthetic, and philosophical values are interwoven in the context of environmental problems. Students critically analyze classic environmental literature, ethical arguments, current movements and leading thinkers in light of relevant case studies. This course also offers students the opportunity to hone their writing skills and make positive steps toward career preparation.
ES 320: Topics in Campus Sustainability
This course examines the concept of sustainability at three levels: as a social issue facing the global community; as a guiding principle for the operations, teaching, research, and outreach at institutions of higher education; and as a set of specific challenges facing our own university. Students in this course will engage in a variety of hands-on projects designed to explore these three elements of sustainability.
ES/History 326: American Environmental History
A survey of the major topics and issues in North American environmental history from the early native American experience through the twentieth century.
ES/History 335: Nuclear America
In this research and reading seminar, students will explore the many and complicated ways that Americans have interacted with nuclear energy by examining topics such as foreign policy and the arms race, civil defense planning, nuclear energy, the peace movement, the environmental movement, climate change, and many more. In confronting nuclear energy, Americans thought and reflected on much more than just the power of the atom. They wrestled with elemental questions such as the human relationship to nature, the nature of progress, the obligations of citizenship, and the balance between national security and democracy.
ES/History 345: History of American Wilderness
Examines the history of changing American ideas about wilderness, the history of nature protection in the United States; explores current debates over the proper methods of wilderness preservation.
ES/History 355: Global Environmental History
Examines the way that the natural environment intersects with major themes in world history, including industrialization, colonialism, frontiers, and war. Investigates the environmental context and consequences of these and other subjects with the understanding that the natural world can shape human history and that the events of human history have played and continue to play, key roles in shaping the environment.
ES 395: Field Studies
Courses taught in Belize & Yellowstone.
ES 490: Environmental Studies Senior Seminar
A capstone seminar for the Environmental Studies program that will examine the student’s ability to integrate perspectives gained in previous environmental studies courses emphasizing science, society and values.