Thursday, December 19, 2013

Nature and the American Mind - 2014 Lunchtime Lecture Series


Austin Water Center for Environmental Research
by Dr. Kevin Michael Anderson

Free and Open to the Public – bring a lunch and learn


3 times a month in 2014 at 3 Austin locations - Waller Center, Dougherty Arts Center, and Austin City Hall

2014 is the eleventh year of CER Lunchtime Lectures, and this year’s lectures will focus on our myths of American Nature. Myths are foundational narratives used by humans to make sense of the world. We all know the traditional narrative of American Nature – that there once was wilderness in America, discovered and destroyed by European settlers, or, perhaps, not all destroyed, as we preserved bits and pieces of untouched Nature in “wilderness areas” and “parks”. Meanwhile, we try to conserve the rest of Nature outside of the boundaries of preservation, but conservationists divided between “sportsmen” who kill and eat nature and “nature-watchers” who look and take pictures of nature. Looming over all is the shadow of the City, that sprawl of urbanism destroying American Nature. This caricature of a complicated story leaves out ecology, environmentalism, sustainability, agriculture, and more.

In 1967, the historian Roderick Nash published a foundational book about the idea of wilderness entitled Wilderness and the American Mind. I have shamelessly modified his title for my broader effort to explore the many aspects of Nature and the American Mind, this complex story that threads through our history and shapes beliefs, policies, science, and management practices today. I will begin the year by exploring four main Myths of American Nature – wilderness, pastoral, urban, and the newly emerging narrative of resilient nature. Through the summer, I will look at Science and American Nature – the development of natural history, biology, ecology, and environmental science was shaped by the myths of American Nature. Then I will finish the year by examining how myths and science influence the Management of American Nature from the early battle between preservationists and conservationists to the relationship between farming and nature to urban planning and design meant to sustain American cities through using nature.

So join me in 2014 as I explore Nature and the American Mind!

All talks are from NOON to 1pm

Myths of American Nature – January to April


January 7 at Waller Center –Wilderness: The Myth of Pristine Nature

January 8 at Dougherty Arts Center – Wilderness: The Myth of Pristine Nature

January 14 at City Hall - Wilderness: The Myth of Pristine Nature


February 11 at Waller Center –Pastoral Nature: the Agrarian Myth of the Yeoman Farmer

February 12 at Dougherty Arts Center – Pastoral Nature: the Agrarian Myth of the Yeoman Farmer

February 20 at City Hall – Pastoral Nature: the Agrarian Myth of the Yeoman Farmer


March 11 at Waller Center – Urban Nature: The American City and Degraded Nature

March 12 at Dougherty Arts Center – Third Nature: The American City and Degraded Nature

March 20 at City Hall – Third Nature: The American City and Degraded Nature


April 8 at Waller Center –Resilient Nature: Wasteland and the New Ecology

April 9 at Dougherty Arts Center – Resilient Nature: Wasteland and the New Ecology

April 17 at City Hall – Resilient Nature: Wasteland and the New Ecology


Science and American Nature – May to August


May 13 at Waller Center – American Natural History and the Theory of Degenerate Nature

May 14 at Dougherty Arts Center – American Natural History and the Theory of Degenerate Nature

May 15 at City Hall - American Natural History and the Theory of Degenerate Nature


June 10 at Waller Center – Biology, Ecological Change, and Native Species

June 11 at Dougherty Arts Center – Biology, Ecological Change, and Native Species

June 19 at City Hall - Biology, Ecological Change, and Native Species


July 8 at Waller Center – Ecology, Ecosystem Services, and the Balance of Nature

July 9 at Dougherty Arts Center – Ecology, Ecosystem Services, and the Balance of Nature

July 17 at City Hall - Ecology, Ecosystem Services, and the Balance of Nature


August 12 at Waller Center – Environmental Science, Sustainability, and Human Nature

August 13 at Dougherty Arts Center – Environmental Science, Sustainability, and Human Nature

August 21 at City Hall - Environmental Science, Sustainability, and Human Nature


Management of American Nature – September to December


September 9 at Waller Center – Saving American Nature: Conservation vs. Preservation

September 10 at Dougherty Arts Center – Saving American Nature: Conservation vs. Preservation

September 18 at City Hall - Saving American Nature: Conservation vs. Preservation


October 7 at Waller Center – Farming with Nature: the Unsettling of America

October 8 at Dougherty Arts Center – Farming with Nature: the Unsettling of America

October 16 at City Hall - Farming with Nature: the Unsettling of America


November 12 at Dougherty Arts Center – Design with Nature: Ecological Cities and the Myth of Sustainability

November 13 at Waller Center – Design with Nature: Ecological Cities and the Myth of Sustainability

November 20 at City Hall – Design with Nature: Ecological Cities and the Myth of Sustainability

December 9 at Waller Center – The End of Nature: Prospective Ecology and the American Mind

December 10 at Dougherty Arts Center – The End of Nature: Prospective Ecology and the American Mind

December 18 at City Hall - The End of Nature: Prospective Ecology and the American Mind

1 comment:

Sachinder Kumar said...

Great Informative blog.. thanks for share with us.
Now a days cutting the trees and deforestation is very big problem for Nature... So we need conservation services and environmental services for good environment and better future.