By introducing the concepts of "urbanature" and "roosting" into our environmental discussion, eco-critic Ashton Nichols argues that it is time to move beyond a traditional Romantic view of the natural world. Nichols will bring his perspective to the Mount Holyoke community when he speaks on"Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting" on Wednesday, October 13 at 6:45 pm in the New York Room at Mary Woolley Hall.
In his lecture, Nichols will seek to draw nature lovers and urban dwellers closer together.
"Humans are never cut off from their connection to wild nature by human society," Nichols says. "Nothing can take us out of nature; there is nowhere for us to go. From Wordsworth, Thoreau, and Darwin, to the year 2010, the idea of 'urbanatural roosting' emphasizes that our nonhuman house--once called 'nature'--is the same place as our fully human, cultural home."
"It seems as though many scholars and students across campus are thinking about ecology, science, the natural world, and global politics these days," says Assistant Professor of English Kate Singer, who organized the event. "Ashton Nichols is an interdisciplinary scholar who studies the history of science and those Romantic discourses defining our natural world that, in many ways, still dominate the ways we think about nature and culture today. The idea is to bring together faculty and students from across the arts and science divide.”
Nichols is the John J. Curley and Ann Conser Curley Faculty Professor of English Language and Literature at Dickinson College. He teaches courses in Romanticism, nineteenth-century literature, literature and the environment, and nature writing. His books include The Poetics of Epiphany (1987), The Revolutionary 'I': Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Preservation (1998), and Romantic Natural Histories (2004). His most recent work, Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting, is due out later this year.
Prior to the lecture, there will be a reception with wine, hors d'oeuvres, and dessert at 6:15 pm. This is event is sponsored by the English Department and the Miller Worley Center for the Environment; it will be co-hosted by the Weissman Center and the Dean of Faculty.