Professor of Environmental Studies and Chair
Environmental history

Olin-Rice Science Center, 249c


Professor Wells’s 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. He is the author of Car Country: An Environmental History (2012), which focuses on the proliferation of car-dependent landscapes in the United States before 1956, and is the editor of Environmental Justice in Postwar America: A Documentary Reader (2018), a collection of primary sources from the postwar environmental justice movement that highlights the sometimes tense relationship between environmentalists and social justice advocates. His newest book is Nature’s Crossroads: The Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota, a co-edited volume (with George Vrtis, Carleton College) on the environmental history of the Twin Cities and the Upper Midwest.

  • BA in History and English, Williams College, 1995
  • MA in History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1997
  • PhD in History, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2004