University of Wisconsin–Madison

Melissa Charenko

charenko@wisc.edu

Advisor: Gregg Mitman
Curriculum Vitae (pdf)

Melissa Charenko


Biography

In the twentieth century, a number of ecologically oriented disciplines began studying environmental change over centuries or millennia. My dissertation explores why ecologists began exploring the deep past and the methods that they used to reconstruct ancient environments. I argue that part of the interest in long timescales came from a desire to understand how environmental processes changed under human pressure in order to make predictive claims about the future direction of change. Yet this desire to create a “science of prophecy” did not always match the capabilities of paleoecological methods. My work also explores how these methodological limitations challenged ecologists and the policy suggestions they made.

Education

M.A., History and Philosophy of Science, University of Toronto, 2012
B.A. Sc., (Hons.) History with a minor in French, McMaster University, 2009

Field

  • History of Science

Working Dissertation Title

  • ‘Science as Prophecy: Paleo Perspectives on Environmental Change”

Selected Awards

  • William Coleman Dissertation Fellowship, 2018
  • Predoctoral Fellowship, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, 2017
  • Mellon-Wisconsin Summer Fellowship, 2017
  • Grey Towers Scholar-In-Residence, USDA Forest Service, 2017
  • Consortium for the History of Science Research Fellow, 2016-17
  • Howard T. Odum Research Travel Grant, 2016
  • Elmer L. Andersen Research Scholars Award, 2014
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Doctoral Fellowshp, 2012-14

Professional Affiliations

  • History of Science Society
  • American Society for Environmental History
  • Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science

Courses Taught as TA

  • ST 197 – Biology and Society, Colby College, 2017
  • ST 297 – Views of a Changing Planet, Colby College, 2015