Erich Hatala Matthes
Associate Professor of Philosophy and Director, The Camilla Chandler Frost ’47 Center for the Environment, Wellesley College

Erich Hatala Matthes
Erich Hatala Matthes's primary research interests concern the ethics, politics, and aesthetics of cultural heritage, art, and the environment.

He is especially interested in themes surrounding preservation of, access to, and control over objects, practices, and places. He has published papers on topics including repatriation, historic preservation, landscape art, cultural appropriation, irreplaceability, authenticity, place-loss due to climate change, and the value of history and heritage. For an overview of these topics, check out his entry on the Ethics of Cultural Heritage in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. 

He also enjoys writing and speaking for a general audience. He has recently given public talks at the Getty Villa, the Aspen Art Museum, the MIT School of Architecture, and the University of Colorado, Boulder. You can find a list of his public writing here. In 2018, he was awarded a Public Philosophy Op-Ed prize by the American Philosophical Association. His first book, Drawing the Line: What to Do with the Work of Immoral Artists from Museums to the Movies is now available for preorder from Oxford University Press: it's an academic/trade title intended for a general audience. He occasionally teaches a Calderwood Seminar on writing publicly engaged philosophy.

He teaches in all of his research areas, and his teaching has an important impact on the shape of his research. He regularly teaches courses in environmental philosophy and philosophy of art, which you can learn more about here. He recently taught a new seminar called Terrible Beauties about the relationship between aesthetics and immorality. He is also a member of the Advisory Faculty for Environmental Studies and is currently serving as the Faculty Director of the new Frost Center for the Environment at Wellesley.

He is the husband of Jaclyn Hatala Matthes, a scientist whose research focuses on global environmental change, specifically with respect to the carbon cycle and ecosystem ecology. She is Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Wellesley. They recently collaborated on a book chapter about the ethics of food waste (you can check out a draft here). They are also the proud parents of an amazing 6-year-old. 

Outside of philosophy, Erich enjoys playing games, watching movies/TV, reading, hiking, trying new restaurants, exploring his neighborhood, and spending time with friends and family.