Interdisciplinary Collaborations

From co-authored papers to experiential learning committees to digital environmental humanities publications, interdisciplinary collaboration is a foundation of my work. Read about my collaborations in environmental conservation, environmental writing, place-based education, and the arts here.


Novel Ecosystems IGERT

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, I was fortunate to be Fellow on a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Research Education Traineeship (IGERT) focused on Conservation in Novel Ecosystems. Novel ecosystems across the globe—ecologies that have undergone unprecedented transformations from historical baselines as a result of human activity—present fascinating challenges and opportunities for reimagining how humans can conserve the natural world and relate to one another. As the only representative from the environmental humanities on this grant, I collaborated with 30 other faculty and graduate students across the natural and social sciences to develop an interdisciplinary community of practice around novel ecosystems. We each brought our own areas of expertise, and through collaborative research projects, a seminar series, and a research symposium open to members of the public, we created a conservation community greater than the sum of its parts on biomes ranging from the Arctic tundra to the American Southwest. I advocated for considering human diversity and power hierarchies as part of larger conversations about biodiversity. See a publication that I co-authored with a forest ecologist, climatologist, paleoecologist, and entomologist on historical causes of novel ecosystems in the Wisconsin bioregion here. Full citation: Williams, J. W., K. D. Burke, M. S. Crossley, D. A. Grant, and V. C. Radeloff. 2019. “Land-use and climatic causes of environmental novelty in Wisconsin since 1890.” Ecological Applications 29(7):e01955. 10.1002/eap.1955


Digital Environmental Humanities

Edge Effects Digital Magazine

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Culture, History, and Environment, I co-founded and served on the Editorial Board of Edge Effects, an environmental humanities digital magazine and podcast that features essays, poetry, interviews, and art from scholars, scientists, activists, and artists. I also served as a contributing author and interviewer. You can read my essay on stories of drought as apocalyptic prophecy here, my co-authored essay about teaching students how to read a landscape here, and my interview with author and conservationist William DeBuys here.

Teaching the Globe

In 2015, with Elizabeth Hennessy and graduate students from across the humanities and social sciences at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, we co-created Teaching the Globe, an interdisciplinary pedagogical resource for teaching global environmental humanities courses, including pedagogical essays, book reviews, syllabi, and lesson plans.


Place-Based Workshops

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Center for Culture, History, and Environment, I sat on the Planning Committee for the 2017 Place-Based Workshop, an experiential learning field trip for graduate students and faculty from across the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences focused on the theme of climate change in Wisconsin. Landscapes and visiting speakers were our texts.  


Participants, some carrying American flags, marching in the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs division, Creative Commons.

Film Advisory Board

I currently serve on the Academic Advisory Team for filmmaker Polly McClean’s documentary film, The Calling, about a multiracial group of 123 Coloradans who traveled to the last leg of the Selma to Montgomery March on March 25, 1965. Other board members include Polly McClean, Patty Limerick, and Alice Baumgartner.