Category Archives: News

SS Graduate Students’ Energy Plan Makes Semifinalist Status

Houghton_County_Energy_PlanThe energy efficiency and conservation plan for Houghton County, authored by four MTU graduate students, has made it to the semi-finalist level in the national competition for the Georgetown University Energy Prize of $5 million.  The primary authors were Brad Barnett, Brent Burns, and Edward Louie all graduate students in the Department of Social Sciences.  In addition, Abhilash Kantamneni, a graduate student in the Department of Computer Science contributed.  The competition is limited to communities with a population between 9,000 and 250,000, and Houghton County is the smallest-sized semifinalist.

During the fall 2014 semester Barnett, Burns, and Louie were the given the assignment of writing the energy plan in Professor Barry Solomon’s advance seminar course on Energy and Climate Policy (SS6100).  The plan  focuses on energy efficiency improvements and was driven by community outreach efforts, receiving significant input from the community through public meetings.

The next step for Houghton is to hire a manager to lead the effort over the next two years (a foundation grant will fund the position).   Each semifinalist community will compete for two years to reduce their utility supplied energy consumption in a way that is likely to yield continuing improvement within their own community and replication elsewhere.  For purposes of this competition,  community energy consumption measurements are limited to energy supplied by gas and electric utilities directly to all homes and municipal customers in Houghton County.

To read the Keweenaw Now article on the celebration of semifinalist qualification for the Georgetown Energy Prize, click here.


Quivik Expert Witness in BP Oil Spill Trial


FredQuivikProfessor Fred Quivik, an expert witness in the BP oil spill trial, was mentioned in an article published on titled In BP oil spill trial, U.S. witnesses to detail disaster’s economic effect .

As written in the article:  Fred Quivik, a history professor at Michigan Tech University and an expert in environmental litigation. He is to testify that BP XP was treated as part of the larger BP group, with no employees of its own to drill an oil well or respond to a spill.

Click here for the full article.

Solomon Publishes on Biofuel Sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean


Professor Barry Solomon (SS) published a paper “Biofuel sustainability in Latin America and the Caribbean–a Review of Recent Experiences and Future Prospects,” in the journal Biofuels, online January 2015. It was coauthored with Robert Bailis (Yale University), Christine Moser (Leuphana Universitat, Germany) and Tina Hildebrandt (Edeka, Hamburg, Germany).


The Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region is a leader in global biofuel production, accounting for 27% of supply. This is driven by a proliferation of mandates and targets calling for increased use of biofuels around the world. Unsustainable biofuel production can alter landscapes and stress social-ecological systems. To mitigate impacts, different types of governance mechanisms have been introduced including national regulations, voluntary certification schemes, sustainability standards, meta-standards, and codes of conduct. Voluntary certification has gained prominence in the region, with over 220 producers and processors in 12 LAC countries obtaining certification. However, given the potential social and environmental impacts evident in the region, voluntary certification may be insufficient and stronger sustainability mechanisms may be justified.

Trepal Authors Book Review

Catocin_Furnace_front_coverIndustrial Heritage and Archaeology PhD student Daniel Trepal authored a review of the book Catoctin Furnace: Portrait of an Iron-Making Village by Elizabeth Yourtree Anderson that appears in the latest issue of IA: The Journal for Industrial Archaeology (Volume 38, Number 1).

The book presents a social history of a southern iron plantation that produced pig iron and finished cast iron products intermittently between 1777 and 1903.

Schneider receives grants to support his M.S.(I.A.) thesis project

Daniel Schneider at work
Daniel Schneider (MS-IA student) works on a measured drawing of a 19th-century border stamping machine that was used to manufacture wood type for printing decorative borders.

Daniel Schneider, a master’s student in the Industrial Archaeology program has received funding through two grants totaling $2,800 for his master’s thesis project at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, WI.  A grant from The Kohler Foundation, Inc. of Wisconsin supports a series of oral history interviews with workers who produced wood printing type in the type shop of the Hamilton Manufacturing Company. Another grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council supports a public archaeology component of Schneider’s thesis research, which involves the experimental operation of an 19th-century stamping machine that produced wood type for printing decorative borders.  These borders would have been used on posters and other large-scale printed matter such as flyers and handbills. He has made a number of trips to the museum to document and rehabilitate the machine, meet with former employees, and use the museum’s archives.  He also attended a Wayzegooze event there last in November where he interacted with leaders in the current wood type printing community.

Schneider will demonstrate the machine’s operation March 10-14, 2015, at Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. The museum is in Two Rivers, WI, 40 miles southeast of Green Bay, and is the largest museum devoted to wood type printing in the country (and perhaps the world).  He is also in charge of the letterpress studio at the Copper Country Community Arts Center in Hancock, MI.

SS Talk: Valoree S. Gagnon on “Ethnography and Oral History in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community: Collecting Oral Histories as a Social Experience with Tribal Narrators”

Valoree12:00 noon on Friday, January 16th in AOB 201. 

Valoree S. Gagnon, Environmental and Energy Policy PhD candidate,  will present on “Ethnography and Oral History in the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community: Collecting Oral Histories as a Social Experience with Tribal Narrators”


Several scholars have documented additional considerations for doing research in and for tribal communities to ensure cultural needs and protocols are honored. These guidelines include expanding legal and ethical responsibilities, understandings of memory and storytelling, and knowledge of power dynamics between researchers and tribal communities. This paper shares lessons from the field while currently engaged in ethnography and oral history projects with the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, offering an alternative framework for teaching and doing Oral History within and for tribal communities. In the practice of collecting oral histories with tribal narrators, challenges to traditional oral history methods are overcome by using novel approaches. Collecting oral histories as a social experience—sharing stories while cooking, crafting, ‘visiting’, and harvesting together—has been employed. These experiences have the potential to transform and contribute to narrators’ comfort, enriched stories, strong memories, relationship building, and knowledge sharing in more traditional ways for tribal members. Like many other tribal communities, the foundation for protecting Keweenaw Bay Indian Community lifeways and culture depends on revitalizing the nation’s history. Thus, oral history as a social experience can significantly enhance the power of story for tribal nations.

Wellstead Publishes on Non-governmental Policy Work and Capacity

Adam Wellstead
Adam Wellstead

Professor Adam Wellstead published a paper co-authored  with Bryan M. Evans , “Tales of Policy Estrangement:  N0n-governmental Policy Work and Capacity in Three Canadian Provinces”, in ANSERJ-Canadian Journal Of Non-Profit and Social Economy Research, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Autumn 2014) pp.7-28.



Recently, there have been a number of Canadian-based studies of federal and provincial government policy workers. One key theme across all of these studies is the importance of well-established networks outside of government. However, these studies have demonstrated that government policy workers interact very infrequently outside the comfort of their own department cubicles. This stands in contrast to the considerable literature on new public governance theory, which suggests that non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including nonprofit groups, should, and do, play an important role in shaping public policy. This article provides some insights into this question and identifies where NGO–government interaction does exist. The descriptive results from a survey of non-governmental organization policy workers across four fields (environment, health, labour, and immigration) in three Canadian provinces (British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Ontario) clearly illustrate the limitations, at all levels, on interaction between NGO groups and government officials. The article argues that this does not disprove the basic tenet of new governance theory—that non-state actors are engaged, to some degree, in the policy process. The article examines the results of an ordinary least squares (OLS) regression model to determine what factors shape and drive NGO interaction with government.


Baird Presents in Australia

canberraProfessor Melissa Baird presented two papers at the Association of Critical Heritage Studies biennial conference held in Canberra, Australia at Australian National University.

Baird presented her paper titled “Mining is Our Heritage”: Corporate Heritage Discourse and the Politics of Extraction in Michigan’s Upper PeninsulaThe second paper presented, co-authored with Rosemary Coombe, is titled The Limits of Heritage:  Corporate Interests and Cultural Rights on Resource Frontiers.

Baird was elected to serve on the governing board of the Association of Critical Heritage Studies.


Baird Publishes on Heritage, Human Rights, and Social Justice

HSO-105pxProfessor Melissa Baird published a paper titled “Heritage, Human Rights, and Social Justice” in Heritage & Society, Volume 7, Issue 2 (November, 2014), pp. 139-155.



What is the distinction between human rights and social justice frameworks? In heritage contexts, distinctions do matter. Despite its potential in protecting cultural heritage and mediating conflict, human rights regimes have been overburdened in taking on heritage issues. In certain contexts, an inclusion of a social justice agenda provides advocacy and voice to communities whose needs have been marginalized. A social justice approach is positioned to take on issues of inequalities, injustices, or violations of heritage and cultural rights, and provide avenues for “communities of connection” (indigenous, subaltern, descendant, and local communities) to challenge how their heritage is represented.

Faculty Position in Industrial Archaeology (Asst/Assoc/Full)

The Department of Social Sciences at Michigan Technological University invites applications for a tenured or tenure-track position in Industrial Archaeology (

The successful applicant will demonstrate an established research program in Archaeology, Anthropology, Historic Preservation, History, and/or Heritage Studies to contribute to the department’s graduate program in Industrial Heritage and Archeology. While the rank is open, we invite experienced and/or senior candidates who will add to the breadth of the archaeology program through a program of fieldwork as well as a broad theoretical and substantive interest in topics such as industrial landscapes and communities, the processes of industrialization/deindustrialization, heritage and cultural resource management and interpretation.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities (other duties may be assigned)

  1. Demonstrate an established research program in Archaeology, Anthropology, Historic Preservation, History, and/or Heritage Studies to contribute to the department’s graduate program in Industrial Heritage and Archeology.
  2. Teach graduate and undergraduate courses in their specialty area, as well as one undergraduate course that contributes to the University General Education program; a two-two teaching load is normal.

We desire a candidate who is knowledge in industrial landscapes and communities, the processes of industrialization/deindustrialization, and in heritage and cultural resource management and its interpretation.

Applications will be reviewed starting February 15, 2015. Full consideration will be given to applications received by that date. Interested candidates should complete the online application at, and upload required documents including:

  1. A letter of interest
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. A research statement
  4. Names and contact information for three to five references. Letters of reference will be requested for candidates making the short list.

Please direct inquiries to Patrick Martin at or (906) 487-2070.


Required Education Ph.D. in Archaeology, Anthropology or closely related field
Required Experience University teaching experience, Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator on sponsored research, or direct supervisor of research within an institutional setting such as museum or government agency.


The Department of Social Sciences is home to North America’s only graduate program focused on Industrial Heritage & Archaeology, offering both MS and PhD degrees. The program began in the early 1990s and has been the institutional and editorial home for the Society for Industrial Archeology since 1995, with faculty service in leadership roles throughout the succeeding years. The core faculty group includes archaeologists, anthropologists, historians of technology, environmental and architectural historians, and an historical geographer, embedded within an interdisciplinary Social Sciences Department that also includes political scientists, sociologists and both world and European historians.

The department offers undergraduate degree programs in anthropology, history, and social science in addition to the M.S. and Ph.D. programs in Industrial Heritage and Archaeology and in Environmental and Energy Policy. We contribute to campus-wide general education and collaborate with research partners across the university. Michigan Tech hosts the largest Peace Corps Master’s International Program (combining Peace Corps service abroad with an MS degree from MTU) and a new Office of Surface Mining VISTA Master’s program which combines one year of domestic field service with a community organization in mining (or former mining) community with an MTU MS degree. Social Sciences faculty members are directly involved in leadership and student supervision of both of these programs.

Michigan Tech, located in Houghton Michigan, is a mid-sized public research university (RU/H) with approximately 7,000 undergraduate and graduate students from across the nation and around the world. These students enroll in 130 degree programs in arts, humanities, and social sciences; business and economics; computing; engineering; forestry and environmental science; natural and physical sciences; and technology. Michigan Tech is ranked in the top tier of national universities according to U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges 2015.” The student-faculty ration is 13:1 and 49% of classes have fewer than 20 students. The university values cross-disciplinary faculty and student contributions to global sustainability.

Michigan Tech is an ADVANCE institution, one of a limited number of universities in receipt of NSF funds in support of our commitment to increase diversity and the participation and advancement of women in STEM.

Michigan Tech acknowledges the importance of supporting dual career partners in attracting and retaining a quality workforce. Michigan Tech is committed to offering career exploration advice and assistance whenever feasible and appropriate at the University and in the local community. See for additional information.

Michigan Technological University is an equal opportunity educational institution/equal opportunity employer, which includes providing equal opportunity for protected veterans and individuals with disability. Applications from women and minorities are highly encouraged by both the department and the institution.