Award-winning environmental historian and thinker William Cronon will speak on the campuses of Washington State University and University of Idaho this week.
The task of an environmental historian is “to tell stories that carry us back and forth across the boundary between people and nature to reveal just how culturally constructed that boundary is, and how dependent upon natural systems it remains,” Cronon wrote in his 1993 book “Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past.”
Cronon is a distinguished professor of history, geography and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His book, “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West,” was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. He is past president of the American Historical Association and appeared in Ken Burn’s PBS documentary “National Parks: America’s Best Idea.”
— Cronon will read and discuss his work, “The Portage: Time, Memory, and Storytelling in the Making of an American Place,” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, at WSU’s Compton Union Building auditorium. Admission is free.
— Cronon will participate in an interdisciplinary panel discussion on “The Personal Voice of Scholarly Writing” from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 27, in the Whitewater Room of the Idaho Commons at UI. Other panelists are Adam Sowards, director of UI Institute for Pacific Northwest Studies; Mary Wack, vice provost, WSU Undergraduate Education; Mary Blew, UI English professor; and Larry Hufford, director, WSU School of Biological Sciences and Connor Museum of Natural History. Debbie Lee, WSU English professor, and Scott Slovic, UI English professor, will moderate. Admission is free.