Seminars - Sustainability Institute
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Sustainability Research Seminars


SIRT facilitates a monthly series of scholarly discussions on sustainability research, usually on Thursday mornings. Misty McPhee and Sabrina Mueller-Spitz coordinate the 2018-2019 seminar series.  To be added to the seminar announcement list, please email


Upcoming Seminars

Global Perspectives:
Thursday, February 14, 2019. 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 4218
“Animal Justice and Sustainability: Perspectives from the Humanities” by Stewart Cole
“International Biodiversity and Sustainability Initiatives: A report from the field” by Elizabeth Barron


Past Seminars

Fall Semester Sustainability Round-Up!

Thursday, December 6, 2018, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 4218

Discussion to be led by Misty McPhee and Sabrina Mueller-Spitz

Sustainability in Wisconsin:

Thursday, November 15, 2018, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 4218

“Methylmercury and Whooping Cranes: Effects of Environmental Pollutants on Wildlife”               by Misty McPhee   

“Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs), Regional Studies of Ubiquitous Pollutants”                   by Kevin Crawford


Sustainability on the National Level:

Thursday, October 18, 2018, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 4218

“Exhausting Options: State Pursuit of Automobile GHG Emission Standards”                                                by Jason Kalmbach   

“Applying Computational Methods to Environmental Discourse in U.S. Politics”                                          by Jeremiah Bohr


Global Perspectives:

Thursday, September 20, 2018, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 4218

“International Law and the Challenge of Environmental Protection”                                            by Tracy Slagter 

“What I Learned From My Students on a Study Abroad Trip About Sustainability”                   by Heike Alberts


The Past and Future of Sustainability and Nuclear Energy: A Political Scientist and a Historian Discuss

Thursday, April 12, 2018, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 3221

This event features a primary talk by Jason Kalmbach and a response paper by Jim Feldman.

The Fukushima Effect: A Longitudinal Analysis of Attitudes Toward Nuclear Power

Jason Kalmbach, Political Science Department and Environmental Studies Program

Sustainability Discourse and Radioactive Waste in Time and Place

Jim Feldman, History Department and Environmental Studies Program


Why Does Kewaunee County (and much of Northeast Wisconsin) Have Poor Groundwater Quality?

Thursday, March 8, 2018, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 3221

Maureen Muldoon, Geology Department

Areas underlain by the Silurian dolomite aquifer in northeastern Wisconsin are extremely vulnerable to groundwater contamination from various land-use activities, especially the disposal of human wastewater and dairy manure. These areas have had long-standing water quality problems with elevated nitrate-N concentrations, bacteria levels, and instances of “brown water” impacting domestic wells at various times throughout the year. The ongoing water-quality concerns in Kewaunee County have refocused public attention on the aquifer’s susceptibility to contamination. While these events have received recent media attention, they are not isolated incidents.


Migration & Displacement in the Global South

Thursday, February 8, 2018, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 2218

Angela Gray Subulwa, Geography Department

Douglas Haynes, English Department and Environmental Studies Program

Ang Subulwa will discuss the complex dynamics of forced displacement within the African context with specific attention to her work within refugee and refugee-hosting communities in Zambia, raising questions about the intersection of sustainability concerns with the institutional frameworks, settlement patterns, and development challenges embedded in protracted refugee situations.

Douglas Haynes will discuss the socioeconomic and ecological dimensions of rural to urban migration in Central America and read from his new book, Every Day We Live Is the Future: Surviving in a City of Disasters.


Milwaukee’s Hunger Task Force: Changing the Landscape of Food Access

Thursday, November 30, 2017, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 3215

Across two different projects, Melissa Bublitz and a larger set of colleagues have engaged in a dialogue with various social impact organizations working to address hunger in their own communities. This presentation will focus on their collaborative work to redefine what it means to end hunger; change perceptions about who is hungry and why; understand key barriers that make hunger pervasive in developed economies, and efforts to shift the conversation about food well-being on a broader scale. In addition, Melissa will talk briefly about the value of dialogical conferences and using relational engagement as a research process.

Because of the topic at hand, please bring a food item to donate to the Oshkosh Area Community Pantry!


Sociological, Historical, and Biological Perspectives on Sustainability and Health

Thursday, November 2, 2017, 8:30-9:30 a.m., in Sage 3215

Juyeon Son, Sociology Department: “Sociological Perspectives on End-of-Life Decision Making”

Ana Maria Kapelusz-Poppi, History Department: “Scientifical Progress and Political Authoritarianism in Early Twentieth Century Argentina”

Sabrina Mueller-Spitz, Biology Department: “Why do antimicrobial resistant bacteria persist with more sustainable agricultural animal husbandry practices?”