Mount Holyoke scholar Lauret Savoy to deliver Skidmore's environmental keynote

On Thursday, Sept. 27, Skidmore College will welcome Professor Lauret Savoy to campus to give the keynote talk for the College's Environmental Studies Program. Her talk, titled "Restor(y)ing America's Environmental Past and Present," is open to the public and begins at 8 p.m. in Gannett Auditorium.

Savoy has been a professor of environmental studies and geology at Mount Holyoke College since 1990. A teacher, earth scientist, writer, photographer and pilot, Savoy is also a woman of mixed African-American, Native American, and Euro-American heritage. Her classes at Mount Holyoke consider how the braided strands of human and natural history contribute to the stories we tell of the land's origin and history and to stories we tell of ourselves.

"While the types, rates, and degrees of environmental change might be unprecedented in human history, the embedded belief and political-economic systems behind them in the United States-the most energy-consumptive nation-are not," Savoy writes. "Their long, deep roots have allowed and continue to amplify fragmented ways of seeing, valuing, and using 'nature' and human beings. The factors and economic frames considered to measure the human (or ecological) footprint on Earth, for example, mask how the exploitation of land and of people are interconnected."

According to Mount Holyoke's website, "Savoy's interest in human environmental history has led her to dissect distinctly held perspectives on what it means to belong to a place, to be from a place, and to document the blurred lines between family lineage and landscapes of homeland."

Savoy's new book, The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World (Milkweed Editions, 2011, co-edited with Alison Hawthorne Deming), presents a collection of essays that Booklist calls 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 2003, Savoy received Mount Holyoke's Distinguished Teaching Award. She also earned an A.B. degree at Princeton University, an M.S. degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz and a Ph.D. degree at Syracuse University.

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