U.Va.'s Brown College Presents International Roster of 2011-12 Environmental Lecturers

September 06, 2011

September 6, 2011 — The University of Virginia's Brown College will host speakers from around the world, who will give talks on a range of environmental issues, during its 2011-12 Visiting Environmental Writers and Scholars series.

The fall semester talks will be held in Jefferson Hall, Hotel C, on the West Range.

Beginning with environmental historian Richard Tucker on Sept. 15 and ending with environmental activist Vandana Shiva in March, the series also includes Kate Rigby, a comparative literature professor from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and Sean Borton, who was a Sally Brown Fellow at Brown College two years ago when he was a graduate student and now lives in Underwood, Wash.

"We have a fantastic lineup this year, cutting across a wide range of disciplines," organizer Bart Elmore said. Elmore, a doctoral candidate in history in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, is the Sara Shallenberger Brown Fellow of Environmental Studies at Brown College.

Richard Tucker
On Sept. 15, Tucker will speak at 5:15 p.m. on "War and Nature: The Environmental Consequence of Modern Warfare."

Currently an adjunct professor of natural resources at the University of Michigan's School of Natural Resources and Environment, Tucker has written widely on the environmental consequences of American business expansion into tropical regions. His groundbreaking work, "Insatiable Appetite: The United States and Ecological Degradation of the Tropical World," published in 2000, has become a staple of undergraduate environmental history courses across the country, Elmore said.

Tucker's more recent work deals with the ecological degradation associated with modern warfare. He co-authored his 2004 book, "Natural Enemy, Natural Ally: Toward an Environmental History of Warfare," with Edmund Russell, associate professor in the Department of Science, Technology and Society in U.Va.'s School of Engineering and Applied Science and history professor in the College of Arts & Sciences.

Kate Rigby
Rigby will present her work on Sept. 27 at 5 p.m. Among several current ecological humanities projects, she is exploring "green" topics in religious traditions, philosophies and literature from the 17th century to the present.

Rigby is deputy head of education at Monash University in English, communications and performance studies and co-editor of the ecological humanities journal PAN (Philosophy Activism Nature). She was the founding president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment, whose membership includes scholars from Australia and New Zealand, between 2004 and 2008.

Her publications include "Topographies of the Sacred," a critical study of European Romantic-era philosophies and aesthetics of nature and place, published by the University of Virginia Press, and "Ecocritical Theory: New European Approaches."

Sean Borton
Borton, a doctoral student in English at U.Va., will give a talk, "Framing Norman Rockwell's 'Glen Canyon Dam,'" on Oct. 18 at 5:30 p.m. The talk deals with Rockwell's 1969 painting that shows a Navajo couple looking at the newly built dam, the primary feature of the Colorado River Storage Project in northern Arizona.

Borton's reseach assesses the proliferation of writings that express grief for the condition of the physical environment and how it relates to the contemporary environmental movement.

In Washington state, he is spending time helping in his family's orchard, as well as writing his dissertation and working as the language arts and science editor at a educational software company, Renaissance Learning.

Vandana Shiva
Shiva, who won the 1993 Alternative Nobel Peace Prize, also known as the "Right Livelihood Award," is a renowned environmental activist and one of the leading voices in the local food movement. She will lecture at U.Va. on March 19 and 20 (time and location to be announced later).

Based in New Delhi, India, Shiva is the founder and director of the Research Foundation on Science, Technology and Natural Resource Policy and the author of more than 20 books. They include "Staying Alive: Women, Ecology and Development," "Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability and Peace" and "Water Wars: Pollution, Profits and Privatization."

She is also the founder of Navdanya, an organization that promotes the conservation of diverse seed pools threatened by the spread of genetically modified seeds.

— By Anne Bromley