Jon Wlasiuk

Jon  Wlasiuk
  • Instructor
  • History, Philosophy & Sociology of Science
  • Holmes Hall, W-26A
  • 919 E. Shaw Lane
  • East Lansing, MI 48825
  • (517) 353-3940


  • LB 325A/B: Science and the Environment
  • LB 133: History, Philosophy, and Sociology of Science
  • LB 492: Senior Seminar: The $cience of Capitalism
  • LB 240: Bioethics


I am a storyteller. The health of a society depends upon the stories it tells about itself. I believe that students of history and policy makers must consider multiple perspectives and understand what motivated past choices in order to build a better future. The role of the historian should be to use the past as a laboratory of social, political, and cultural experimentation that can inform the present. I structure my courses and research around the significant debates that frame our present: who has power in society; how do categories of identity alter social power; and how does nature structure human history and become altered by human culture?


  • Ph.D., History, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio
  • M.A., History, University of Montana, Missoula, Montana 
  • B.A., History The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohi


  • 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award, The Ohio State University, Mansfield (nominated)
  • 2012 The Frank R. Borchert Jr. Prize for Best Dissertation, Dept. of History, CWRU
  • 2011 School of Graduate Studies, CWRU, Fellowship Course. History 333: “Reading Das Capital.” Instructor: Professor Ken Ledford.
  • 2010 Baker-Nord Center for the Humanities Fellow, CWRU. Semester-long interdisciplinary seminar entitled: “Cultures of Green: Nature and the Environment.”
  • 2009 Besse Fellow, Encyclopedia of Cleveland History


My teaching and research specializations focus on environmental history. I am committed to exploring how nature structures societies and how cultures, through technology, attempt to mold nature according to their economic and political desires. My current projects include a book on how citizen scientists and environmental activists on the Great Lakes created wildlife sanctuaries out of toxic waste dumps.    


  • Refining Nature: Standard Oil and the Limits of Efficiency. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017.
  • “A Company Town on Common Waters: Standard Oil in the Calumet,” Environmental History 19 (October 2014): 687-713.