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Meet Kyle Keeler, assistant professor of environmental science and environmental studies
What I study and why: My work is at the intersection of environmental studies, Indigenous and Native American studies, and environmental justice studies. To date, I have studied and written about the ways that colonialism has contributed to climate change and the Anthropocene epoch, the Lummi Nation of the Salish Sea’s relationship to their orca whale kin, and how trees and plants can, and should, be seen as contributors in ‘human’ politics. My current work looks at the ways that land has affected and contributed to American legislation, literature, and history, from the 1600s to the 1800s by looking at the ways in which Mohegan, Haudenosaunee, and Cherokee peoples have related to land during those time periods in literature and legal proceedings. I am also currently researching how settler colonialism functions to erase Native American philosophy, science, and history on Wikipedia. By redeveloping relationships to the nonhuman natural world through historical and archival recovery of the ways that the nonhuman has contributed to society, politics, and community, and looking at the ways in which violence is ongoing in archives currently being written (Wikipedia), I am hopeful that we might see a different way to interact with those who we share the world with, and we might create a better future for everyone.
What I will be teaching in the fall: Introduction to Environmental Studies
What students can expect from me: Energy, care, and preparation. When I coached basketball before academia, I was one of the more excitable coaches on the sidelines during games. That’s something that has traveled with me into my teaching—I can’t shut it off! So, first and foremost, expect me to be animated and ready to go for each of our classes. Second, whether we’re discussing complicated, tough issues around environmental justice or we’re going over individual projects and your future plans during my office hours, you can expect me to approach these conversations and meetings with my full attention and careful guidance. Finally, it is my ultimate goal to prepare you for what comes after our time together and Lafayette, both professionally and personally. To that end, I will constantly push you to do your best work, to think about and approach the complicated issues we discuss and study in the attentive, mindful manner that they deserve, to deliver your thoughts and ideas in a lucid, professional way, and to work collaboratively and purposefully with those around you. I am hopeful that when you leave the classroom and eventually Lafayette with a tight-knit community of support, you are prepared to do your best for yourself and the new communities you will encounter and create during your future endeavors.
I’m excited to be here because: From the moment I stepped foot and came to know Lafayette, and specifically the Environmental Science and Environmental Studies Department, I have noticed a real culture of acceptance and positivity from my new colleagues and the students here. Much of my work to this point has been based on collaborating with my colleagues and students on pedagogical practice and scholarship, and I know that everyone here has been doing the same. Additionally, my work has aimed to be of service to the larger community that my institution is a part of, and given the environmental history of Easton and the larger Lehigh Valley, and the work the ESSP department has already done in the wider community, I look forward to continuing the history of community service others have already been doing here and hopefully creating new paths as well. Answering the questions that my research poses, working with community members to create healthier, more egalitarian environmental futures, and hearing how students here at Lafayette might answer these questions and see those futures are especially exciting prospects for me. I look forward to getting to work with all of you!
Getting to know me: Before I went into academia, I was a basketball coach in Youngstown, Ohio, and Fort Wayne, Indiana, for eight years. I still try to play basketball when I can, and I go to the gym regularly, but my dog and my cat take up most of my time when I’m not reading and writing!