University of Wisconsin–Madison

Heather Rosenfeld

Graduate student (Ph.D.)


MS, Geography, University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2013

BS, Geophysical Sciences, University of Chicago, 2007

BA, History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Science and Medicine, University of Chicago, 2007


Research Areas



Current Research

I’m currently (2017) actively involved in two major projects. 

First, my dissertation examines chicken rescue, rehabilitation, and care at farmed animal sanctuaries. Through various means, sanctuaries rescue animals who have been bred, trained, and sometimes drugged to extract value from them. Most institutional knowledge about chicken care is premised on their being commodities, from veterinary medicine to peer-reviewed research to guidebooks. This leaves sanctuaries and their networks to determine for themselves how to rehabilitate and care for these animals.The project addresses four main questions: 

1. What is the history and contemporary landscape of chicken sanctuaries/chickens at farm sanctuaries? This part of the project literally and figuratively maps out the place of chickens in sanctuary movement(s).

2. What is the political economy of chicken rescue, rehabilitation, and care? In other words, how do sanctuaries work within, outside, and against capitalism in their day-to-day operations?

3. How do sanctuaries and their networks co-construct medical knowledge (and misinformation) about chickens, and how does this circulate? This question focuses on mundane elements of care as well as on specific medical practices. For example, some sanctuaries will give hens hormonal implants (akin to birth control) to try to stop them from laying eggs and thus prevent certain reproduction-related health problems.

4. How do sanctuaries represent chickens and human-chicken relationships? Sanctuaries make a point of taking chickens out of circulation as commodities or resources, but they are also not returning these birds to a “wild” state, nor are they treating them as traditional pets. 

For many reasons and building on alternative forms for dissertations, I am communicating my findings using words, comics, illustrations, and maps.  

Second, I am working for Dr. Sarah Moore on a multi-year collaborative project that maps and analyzes the hazardous waste trade in North America. We are investigating transnational waste flows and the transition in some areas – particularly the post-industrial Midwest – from a production economy to a waste economy. 

I have also worked on issues of gender in the academy. From Spring 2012-Spring 2013, I conducted interviews and did archival research on gender and departmental culture here at UW, and synthesized this information into a zine designed to improve departmental culture. A revised excerpt of this project is forthcoming in the edited volume, Surviving Sexism in the Academy. Finally, my master’s research examined controversies associated with “smart” electric grids. I explored contradictions between green technology and environmental justice as well as the labor politics of adding digital technologies to electrical infrastructure. 

Courses Taught

Geography 170: Our Digital Globe (online), Fall 2017, TA at UW-Madison

Geography 370: Introduction to Cartography, Fall 2015, TA at UW-Madison

World Regional Geography, Spring 2015, Lecturer at Madison College

Geography 101: Introduction to Human Geography, Fall 2012 and Spring 2013, Head TA at UW-Madison

Geography 101: Introduction to Human Geography, Spring 2012, TA at UW-Madison

Geography 120: Global Physical Environments, Fall 2011, TA at UW-Madison

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