Dr. John Hausdoerffer

Dean, School of Environment & Sustainability

Professor, Env Sustainability & Philosophy
Director, Master in Environmental Management Program
Western Colorado University
Gunnison, CO 81231



Ph.D. in American Studies, Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, WA.  Aug. 2004

  • Primary Field, “Environment and Culture”
  • Dissertation topic: “George Catlin and the Politics of Nature.”  Chair: Dr. Joan Burbick

  • Dissertation and Defense passed “With Distinction”

M.A. in Liberal Arts, St. John’s College, Santa Fe, NM.  May 1998

B.A. in History, Western Colorado University, Gunnison, CO.  June 1996.  Summa Cum Laude


Forthcoming: Co-Editor: What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? Environmental Ethics for the Long
Game.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2019.

Co-editor and Author, Wildness: Relations of People and Place.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press,

Editor, Aaron Abeyta’s Letters from the Headwaters.  Boulder: University of  Colorado Press, 2014.

Author, Catlin’s Lament: Indians, Manifest Destiny, and the Ethics of Nature.  Lawrence, KS: University
     Press of Kansas, 2009.

Articles & Reviews:
Peer Review, "The Museum as West and West as Museum: The Micro-Politics of Museum Display in George Catlin's Vanishing American Indians" Western Literature Review,
“Wildness: Relations of People and Place.” Minding Nature, January 2017.

“The Aaking Ethic” and “Wild Partnership.”  Wildness: Relations of People and Place.  Eds. Gavin Van
     Horn and John Hausdoerffer.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017. 

“The Capacity for Self-Renewal” Minding Nature, September 2013. 

Review of Truettner, William.  Painting Indians and Building Empires in North America, 1710-1840. 
Great Plains Quarterly, Summer 2011

“‘That Shocking Calamity’: Revisiting George Catlin’s Environmental Politics.”  Natural Protest: Essays
on the History of American Environmentalism.  Eds. Michael Egan and Jeff Crane.  NY: Routledge
​     Press, 2008

“The Book of Nature Open’: Charles Willson Peale’s Museum and the Fetishization of Nature.”
     Nature and Human Nature: Literature, Ecology, Meaning.  Ed. Murali Sivaramakrishnan.  New
​     Delhi
, India: Prestige Press, 2007

 “The ‘Nature’ of Environmental Disaster: George Catlin’s Lament as Eco-genocide,” Tamkang Review,
Taiwan. Autumn 2006

“Jefferson, Thomas.”  Krech III, S., Merchant, C., and McNeill, J., (eds.). Encyclopedia of World
Environmental History.  New York: Berkshire/Routledge, 2003



2017-2018: Presentations on the Wildness book in Point Reyes and Bishop, CA; Salt Lake City, Utah;

Aspen, Carbondale, Denver, Telluride, Crested Butte, Gunnison, Salida, and Fruita, CO; Detroit; Chicago; Rome, Italy; Norwich, Middlebury, and Jeffersonville, VT

2017, Executive Producer: “Wildness” (a series of films interviewing authors from my book Wildness:

Relations of People and Place).  http://www.humansandnature.org/wildness

June 2017.  Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, Detroit, MI.  “Finding an

Ecospheric Identity: Winona LaDuke’s Recovery of the Sacred as Antidote for Aldo Leopold’s ‘Spiritual Danger’”

February 2017.  Keynote Address, Conservation Center’s 40th Anniversary Dinner, Carbondale, CO.

“What Is Your Rice?: Knowing the Ecological Keystones of Identity.” 

October 2016.  Keynote Address, Colorado Alliance for Environmental Education Conference,

Ridgeway, CO.  “What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? Cultural Keystones as the new Ecological Literacy”

May 2015.  Keynote Address, AmeriCorps Vista Western Hardrock Team Annual Training,

Denver, CO.  “Merging Environmental Ethics and Justice: A Project Perspective.”

March 2015.  Invited Three-Part Lecture, Center for Sustainability, Principia College.  Elsah, IL. 

“Deep Sustainability”

March 2014.  Invited Lecture, Center for Humans and Nature and Loyola University Institute for

Sustainability; Chicago.  “Mobilizing Sense of Place.”

March 2014.  Opening Lecture.  65th Principia College Public Affairs Conference. 

Elsah, IL.  “What Kind of Ancestor Do You Want to Be? The Future of Deep Sustainability.”

Summer/Fall 2013.  Carson National Forest Leopold Writer in Residence & Lecture.  Taos, NM

“The Art of Environmental Ethics: George Catlin, Aldo Leopold, and the Aesthetics of Nature”

Fall 2013.  Natural Resources of the West Seminar Series.  Colorado Mesa Univ. Grand Junction, CO

“Imagining a Global Land Ethic: Aldo Leopold and 21st Century Struggles for Livelihood.”

Summer 2013.  Colorado Natural Resources Career Fair.  Denver, CO

“Environmental Education for Environmental Professions.”

Spring 2013. American Society for Environmental History.  Toronto, Canada

“‘A Change in the Mental Eye’: Aldo Leopold, Vandana Shiva, and Ecological Revolutions in Citizenship.”

Spring 2013.  Aldo Leopold Foundation Visiting Fellow and Lecture Series. Baraboo, WI

“Toward an Environmental Justice Land Ethic.”

Summer 2012.  International Society for Religion, Nature, and Culture.  Malibu, CA

Paper: “Recovering the Sacred: Aldo Leopold, Winona LaDuke, and the Spiritual Danger of Alienation.” 

Spring 2012.  American Society for Environmental History.  Madison, WI

Paper: “The Urban Roots and Social Justice Future of Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic.”

February 2012.  American Association of Geographers.  New York, New York

Paper: “Land Justice: Wangari Maathai, Aldo Leopold, and the Social Conditions for ‘Land Health.’” 

Spring 2010.  American Society for Environmental History.  Portland, OR

  • Roundtable Participant: “Greening America’s Campuses”​
  • Roundtable Organizer and Participant: “Redefining Ecology: Aldo Leopold and the Environmental Justice Potential of the Land Ethic.” 

Spring 2009.  American Society for Environmental History.  Tallahassee, FL

  • Roundtable Participant: The Role of Historians in Campus Sustainability

March 2008, American Society for Environmental History.  Boise, ID

  • Roundtable Participant: Historians in Environmental Studies Programs

February 2008, Feature Lecture, Center of the American West Lecture Series.  Boulder, CO

  • “Living Beyond Lament: Rethinking George Catlin’s Vanishing America.”

September 2006, Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment International Conference on Nature and Human Nature, Pondicherry, India

Presented Paper: “The Book of Nature Open’: Charles Willson Peale’s Museum and the Fetishization of Nature”

May 2005.  Tamkang International Conference on Ecological Discourse.  Tamkang University, Tamsui, Taiwan

  • Presented Paper: “Questioning ‘Natural’ Disaster: from 19th Century Indian Removal to the 2004 Florida hurricanes.”

September 2004.  Symposium on Globalization and Environmental Justice.  Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.  Tucson, AZ

  • Organized and Chaired Panel: “Critical Pedagogies of Environmental Justice”

October 2003.  American Studies Association (ASA) Annual Meeting.  Hartford, CT 

  • Presented Paper: “Towards an Environmentalism without Nature: George Catlin, Aldo Leopold, and Winona LaDuke.”

September 2003.  European Society of Environmental Historians Conference.  Prague, Czech Republic. 

  • Presented Paper: “Giving Up Dominion: Rethinking Nature and Freedom in Jeffersonian Political Thought.”   

November 2002.  ASA Annual Meeting.  Houston, TX

  • Presented paper: “The Wilderness of Popular Culture: George Catlin’s Constructions of Nature and Wildness, 1832-1872.”

April 2002.  Pacific Northwest ASA Conference.  Spokane, WA

  • Presented Paper: “A Political Science: Nature and Power in Thomas Jefferson’s Notes on the State of Virginia.” 

July 2002-Present: 30+ guest lectures for courses, conferences, and events at Western.



Dec 2017-Present, Dean of the School of Environment & Sustainability, Western Colorado University

Fall 2017-Spring 2019, Faculty Trustee, Western Colorado University

Aug 2005-Present   Asst./Assoc/Professor of Environment & Sustainability (ENVS) and Philosophy Western Colorado University

2015-Present   Executive Director, Center for Environment & Sustainability, Western Colorado University

2014-Present   Director, Master in Environmental Management Program, Western Colorado University

2009-2015       Director, Headwaters Conference, Western Colorado University

2007-2013       Director, Environmental Studies Program, Western Colorado University

September 2004-May 2005    Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies (ES), Eckerd College, St. Petersburg, FL

May 2003-May 2004, Lecturer in Environmental Studies and Political ScienceWestern Colorado University, Gunnison, CO

Aug 2002-May 2003, Graduate Instructor, Literature/History/Women’s Studies, Washington State University, Pullman, WA

Aug 2000-May 2002, Graduate Teaching Assistant, History, Washington State University, Pullman, WA—earned award for best TA


2018   Board of Directors, Society for Wilderness Stewardship

2013-Present   Board of Directors, Colorado Youth Corps Association

2017-2019       Faculty Trustee, Western Colorado University Board of Trustees

2014                Founder, Resilience Studies Consortium

2014                Co-Founder, Coldharbour Institute

2014                Founder, Master in Environmental Management, Western Colorado University

2015-Present   Fellow and Senior Scholar, Center for Humans and Nature

2015-Present.  Ecosphere Studies Curriculum Developer, The Land Institute, Salina, KS.

2009-2013       Board of Directors, Office of Resource Efficiency



  • Mountain Resilience: The Indian Himalayas
  • Ecospheric Thinking (co-taught with Land Institute)
  • Praxis: Applying Deep Sustainability
  • Introduction to Philosophy
  • Plato’s Republic and American Culture
  • Ethics
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Environmental Ethics & Justice
  • American Political Thought
  • The Great Conversation
  • American Cultural Studies (cross-listed as Women’s Studies, English, and History)
  • History of American Popular Culture
  • Nature and Popular Culture
  • American Political Development
  • American Federal Government
  • Introduction to Environment & Sustainability
  • Resources, Policy, and the Environment
  • Public Lands Management
  • Applied Sustainability
  • Influential Environmental Writers