Matthew Farrelly


Advisor: Adam Nelson
Curriculum Vitae (pdf) | Website

Matthew Farrelly


In the stream of other interventions concerned to explore the meanings & malaises of “modernity”, I am researching and writing on the educational philosophy and practice of the Scottish-American naturalist, John Muir. I am hoping to tell a story of how Muir made sense of his own 19th and early 20th century moment, paying especial attention to the ways he navigated the tensions between modern science, religion and spirituality, nature, and formal and informal modes of education in order to make sense of the human condition, the human relationship with the nonhuman world, Nature Study, and the purpose(s) of American Conservation.

Joining disciplines of history of education, environmental history, intellectual history, and philosophy of education, I hope to examine Muir in his own context, trace a reception history of his writings for environmental-educational applications, and explore how (and how not) Muir’s life and thought might speak to our present ecological crises.


M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
M.A, Wheaton College
B.A., Grove City College


  • U.S./North American History

MA Title

  • “Seeing John Muir Seeing Native Americans: An Examination”

Selected Publications

  • Farrelly, Matthew R. (2022) “Toward a Phenomenology of Mythopoetic Participation and the Cultivation of Environmental Consciousness in Education”, Environmental Education Research. 
DOI: 10.1080/13504622.2022.2131740
  • Farrelly, M. (2019) “The Significance of Myth for Environmental Education”. Journal of Philosophy of Education. February 2019, Vol.53(1), pp.127-144. DOI: 10.1111/1467-9752.12315

Selected Awards

  • “The Significance of Myth for Environmental Education” among top 10% most downloaded articles on Journal of Philosophy of Education website
  • Invited to contribute to a special edition of the journal Environmental Education Research, honoring the contributions to environmental education of the philosopher of education, Michael Bonnett
  • McPherson Graduate Fellow 2020-2022 | The Center for Ethics & Education, Wisconsin Center for Educational Research | University of Wisconsin-Madison

Professional Affiliations

Courses Taught as TA

  • EPS/History 107: History of the University in the West
  • EPS 300: The School & Society
  • EPS/History 412: History of American Education

Courses Taught as Instructor

  • EPS/History 107: History of the University in the West
  • EPS 300: The School & Society