Lauret Savoy

Professor of Environmental Studies

The complex layering of natural and cultural histories that creates what is experienced as "sense of place"; intersections of cultural identity and environmental awareness, thought, and activism; images and ideas of natural landscapes in the American West

A teacher, earth scientist, writer, photographer, and pilot, Lauret Savoy is also a woman of mixed African-American, Native American, and Euro-American heritage. Her courses consider how braided strands of human history and geologic-natural history contribute to the stories we tell of the land's origin and history, and to stories we tell of ourselves in the land and of relational identity. In each course, Savoy challenges students to examine their assumptions about the world. In 2003, she was a recipient of the College's Distinguished Teaching Award. The previous year, Savoy was selected by the Class of 2002 as a Baccalaureate speaker. 

Savoy's column appears in the on-line journal as "A Stone's Throw." In her book, The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, 2011, co-edited with Alison Hawthorne Deming) provocative essays weave diverse experiences of place to create a larger and more textured cloth than the largely monochromatic tradition of American nature writing or of the mainstream environmental movement. Booklist has called this book an "unprecedented and invaluable collection." Savoy also co-edited Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology (Trinity University Press, 2006 with Eldridge and Judy Moores), which the Wall Street Journal picked as one of its five best science books. In addition, she is co-author of Living with the Changing California Coast (University of California Press, 2005) with Gary Griggs and Kiki Patsch.  Savoy also worked with the University Press of New England to re-issue Alien Land (E. P. Dutton, 1949), the long out-of-print novel on “Negro passing” written by her father Willard Wilson Savoy.

Read about her books, Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology and Living with the Changing California Coast, as well as her father’s reprinted novel, Alien Land in the April 2006 Dean of Faculty Report.

Savoy served for two years as the director of Mount Holyoke's Center for the Environment, and she is on the board of directors of the Center for Whole Communities.

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