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Keynote Address for What Arts & Humanities Are Good For Series - by William Cronon

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As we celebrate in 2014 the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Wilderness Act—which has protected more than 100 million acres of U.S. public land—it’s well worth pondering this remarkable achievement. What do we mean by “wilderness” in the Anthropocene? Any answer to this question requires the humanities as much as the sciences, and can only be understood historically. Cronon will trace the changing meanings of wilderness in American history, and argue for its ongoing importance today and in the future.

William Cronon studies American environmental history and the history of the American West. His research seeks to understand how we depend on the ecosystems around us to sustain our material lives, how we modify the landscapes in which we live and work, and how our ideas of nature shape our relationships with the world around us. He is the author of the influential books Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England and Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West; as well as the groundbreaking essay, "The Trouble With Wilderness, or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature," in his edited anthology Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, which examines the implication of cultural ideas of nature for modern environmental problems. He is completing a new book - Saving Nature in Time: The Environmental Past and the Human Future - on the evolving relationship between environmental history and environmentalism, and on what the two might learn from each other.

Audience: free and open to the public

Location: Dodds Auditorium

Date/Time: 10/08/14 at 6:00 pm - 10/08/14 at 7:30 pm

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Category: Conferences & Lecture Series

Department: Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI)