Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher, whose interests span the history of science, medicine, and the environment in the United States and the world. His commitment to environmental and social justice is reflected in his work.
Mitman’s recent books include Documenting the World: Film, Photography, and the Scientific Record (University of Chicago Press, 2016), Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape our Lives and Landscapes (Yale University Press, 2007), and Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film, rev. ed. (University of Washington Press, 2009). He is the founding director of the Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History and Environment (CHE), and is also past president of the American Society for Environmental History.
During the last decade, Mitman has increasingly focused on public humanities projects. In 2007, he created the Tales from Planet Earth film festival that has brought together artists, academics, and the public to explore and further the power of storytelling through film as a force of environmental and social change. Under his leadership, CHE, in collaboration with Munich’s Rachel Carson Center and Stockholm’s KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, hosted a 2014 experimental performance, The Anthropocene Slam: A Cabinet of Curiosities. The project was duplicated in Australia and Switzerland and a book, Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene is forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press in the spring of 2018.
Mitman’s current work is a multimedia project—a film, book, and public history website—exploring the history and legacy of the Firestone Plantations Company in Liberia. He recently co-produced and co-directed with Sarita Siegel two films, In the Shadow of Ebola, an intimate portrait of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, which aired online on Independent Lens/PBS, and The Land Beneath Our Feet, a documentary on history, memory, and land rights in Liberia. His book, The World that Firestone Built: Capitalism, American Empire, and the Forgotten Promise of Liberia, which he is completing with support from an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship, will be published by The New Press.