Erich Hatala Matthes

Erich Hatala Matthes, philosophy, ethics, morality, art, Wellesley
(781) 283-3476
B.A., Yale University; Ph.D., University of California (Berkeley)

Erich Hatala Matthes

Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Researches and teaches the ethics, politics, and aesthetics of cultural heritage, art, and the environment.

My primary research interests concern the ethics, politics, and aesthetics of cultural heritage, particularly with respect to art and the environment. I'm especially interested in themes surrounding preservation of, access to, and control over objects, practices, and places. I have published papers on topics including repatriation, historic preservation, cultural appropriation, irreplaceability, authenticity, and the value of history and heritage.

I teach in all of my research areas, and my teaching has an important impact on the shape of my research. I regularly teach Environmental Ethics and Philosophy of Art. In Fall 2015, I taught a new Calderwood Seminar in Public Writing called "Ethics for Everyone." In Fall 2016, I taught a new Philosophy/Environmental Studies course called "From Wilderness to Ruins" about the ethics and aesthetics of place. In Spring 2018, I taught a seminar titled "Who Owns the Past?" as well as a new First Year Seminar on the ethics of eating. In Fall 2018 I will teach a new seminar on Authenticty. I am also a member of the Advisory Faculty for Environmental Studies.

During the summer of 2017, I participated in an NEH Summer Institute on "Space, Place, and the Humanities" at Northeastern University, and wrote a curriculum guide on Art and Cultural Heritage with the support of a Curriculum Diversification Grant from the American Society for Aesthetics.

I am 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. We recently collaborated on a book chapter about the ethics of food waste (you can check out a draft here). Our son Henry, another collaboration, is 3. 

Outside of philosophy, I enjoy playing games, going to the movies, hiking, trying new restaurants, exploring my neighborhood, and spending time with friends and family.