Tag: William Cronon

“An American Place:” Noted Environmental Historian Closes Lawrence University 2003-04 Convocation Series

Lawrence University will recognize award-winning author and historian William Cronon with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree Tuesday May 25 during the annual Honors Convocation, which closes the 2003-04 series.

Cronon, whose scholarship combines the disciplines of history, geography and environmental studies, will deliver the address “The Portage: History and Memory in the Making of an American Place” at 11:10 a.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel. He also will conduct a question-and-answer session at 2 p.m. in the Lawrence Memorial Union. Both events are free and open to the public.

The author of two books and editor several others, Cronon, 49, has earned critical acclaim for his writing and research on the ways human communities modify the landscapes in which they live and how people in turn are affected by changing geological, climatological and ecological conditions.

His first book, “Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England,” which explored the changes the New England landscape underwent as control of the region shifted from Native Americans to European colonists, was awarded 1984’s Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians.

His second book, 1991’s “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West,” an examination of Chicago’s relationship to its rural hinterland during the latter half of the 19th century, earned Cronon the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for the best literary work of non-fiction, the Bancroft Prize for the best work of American history and was one of three nominees for the Pulitzer Prize in history.

In addition, “Nature’s Metropolis” was recognized with the George Perkins Marsh Prize from the American Society for Environmental History and the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Award from the Forest History Society for the best book of environmental and conservation history.

The Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Cronon is currently working on a local history of Frederick Turner’s hometown, Portage, Wis., in which he is exploring ways to integrate environmental and social historical methods with non-traditional narrative literary forms. He is also completing an anthology of first person accounts of past landscapes of the United States and the lives people have lived on them entitled “Working on Life on the American Land: A Commonplace Book.”

Cronon joined the UW-Madison faculty in 1992 after spending more than a decade teaching at Yale University in his hometown of New Haven, Conn. Among numerous academic awards he’s received, Cronon was named a Rhodes Scholar and a Danforth Fellow in 1976, received a $500,000 “genius grant” from the MacArthur Foundation in 1985 and was named the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1995. In addition to UW-Madison, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in history and English, Cronon holds advanced degrees Oxford University in Britith urban and economic history and from Yale in American history.

His professional affiliations include serving on the Board of Curators for the Wisconsin Historical Society, the Governing Council of The Wilderness Society and the editorial boards of Environmental History and the Journal of Historical Geography.

Lawrence University Convocation Series Explores the Mind, the Environment, Personal Inspiration and Our Funny Bone

Humorist David Sedaris, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker, best-selling author Susan Ariel Rainbow Kennedy (SARK) and environmental historian William Cronon will visit the Lawrence University campus in the coming year as part of the college’s 2003-2004 convocation series.

Richard Warch, who begins his 25th and final year as Lawrence University president, opens the convocation series Thursday Sept. 25 with his annual matriculation address. All convocations are held in the Lawrence Memorial Chapel and are free and open to the public.

Sedaris, an author, playwright and National Public Radio commentator, will break with Lawrence convocation tradition with a rare evening appearance when he speaks Tuesday, Oct. 14 at 7:10 p.m. Convocations are typically held at 11:10 a.m.

A regular contributor to Esquire magazine, Sedaris was named humorist of the year in 2001 by Time magazine and is a past recipient of the Thurber Prize for American Humor. He is the author of several best-selling books, including “Barrel Fever,” and “Holidays on Ice.” His most recent book, “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” is a series of humorous autobiographical essays.

Pinker, professor of psychology at the Center for Cognitive Neurosciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, presents “The Blank Slate” on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Named one of the “100 Americans for the Next Century” by Newsweek magazine, Pinker is considered one of the world’s leading cognitive scientists. His book, “How the Mind Works,” was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 1998 and his most recent work, 2002’s “The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature,” has thrust Pinker to the forefront of public debate about human nature and the development of the human mind.

SARK, a frequent guest on National Public Radio, presents “Make Your Creative Dreams Real” on Thursday, March 4. She has written 11 personal growth, inspiration and creativity books, including the 1997 self-help best-seller “Succulent Wild Women.” She wrote her first book at the age of 10, and currently has more than two million books in print. She was featured in the PBS series, “Women of Wisdom and Power” and the documentary film, “The World According to SARK.”

On Tuesday, May 25, Cronon headlines Lawrence’s annual Honors Convocation with the address “The Portage: History and Memory in the Making.”

The Frederick Jackson Turner Professor of History, Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison since 1992, Cronon studies American environmental history and the history of human interactions with the natural world. He has written four books including “Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West,” which earned Cronon the 1992 Bancroft Prize as the best work of American history published during the previous year and was one of three nominees for the Pulitzer Prize in History, and 1995’s “Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature.”

Cronon was named a Rhodes Scholar as an undergraduate at UW-Madison, and has since been honored as a Danforth Fellow and as a Guggenheim Fellow. In 1985, he was awarded one of the MacArthur Foundation’s prestigious “genius grants.”