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About Christopher W. Wells

Chris Wells specializes in U.S. environmental history with additional interests in the history of technology, urban history, and environmental justice. His research and teaching focus on the ways that technology—and especially technological systems—have reshaped the American environment, mediating and structuring people’s relationships with the natural world. His book, Car Country: An Environmental History (2012), focuses on the proliferation of car-dependent landscapes in the United States before 1956. His current projects include a co-edited volume on Minnesota’s environmental history (with George Vrtis, Carleton College), a documents reader on environmental justice, and a history of the idea of “building with nature” in American domestic architecture.
EDUCATION: B.A., Williams College; M.A., Ph.D University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Wells has been teaching at Macalester since 2005.


Present Associate Professor, Environmental Studies, Macalester College


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  • American Environmental History
  • Consumer Nation: 20th Century American Consumer Culture
  • Three Rivers Environmental History
  • Car Country: The Automobile and the American Environment
  • U.S. Urban Environmental History
  • Imperial Nature: The U.S. and the Global Environment
  • Environmental Justice
  • Environmental Studies Senior Seminar

Contact Information

Macalester College
Olin/Rice 249c
1600 Grand Avenue
St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 696-6803


Peer Reviewed Articles and Essays (14)

Encyclopedia Articles (14)