Featured Events

A Passion for Nature:
Exploring the Life of John Muir

Donald Worster and Richard White with Jon Christensen

Thursday, May 7, 2009 | 7:30–9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

In Donald Worster's new biography, John Muir's "special self" is fully explored as is his extraordinary ability, then and now, to get others to see the sacred beauty of the natural world. A Passion for Nature is the most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club ever written. Rich in detail and personal anecdote, it traces Muir from his boyhood in Scotland and frontier Wisconsin to his adult life in California right after the Civil War up to his death on the eve of World War I. It explores his marriage and family life, his relationship with his abusive father, his many friendships with the humble and famous (including Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson), and his role in founding the modern American conservation movement. Inspired by Muir's passion for the wilderness, Americans created a long and stunning list of national parks and wilderness areas, Yosemite most prominent among them. Yet the book also describes a Muir who was a successful fruit-grower, a talented scientist and world-traveler, a doting father and husband, a self-made man of wealth and political influence, and a man for whom mountaineering was "a pathway to revelation and worship."
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Education for Citizenship Series
Responsible Freedom: Liberal Arts Education and the College Idea

Martha Nussbaum and Andrew Delbanco with Debra Satz

Thursday, March 5, 2009 | 7:30 – 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

Universities eloquently proclaim the advantages of education for creating responsible citizens, but their rhetoric is often better than the outcome. All too often, little attention is paid to what education is for and what it should consist of. What should today's students know in preparation for common citizenship in a pluralistic world? What is the role of the humanities in that preparation? Join us for a conversation with two leading public intellectuals about the role of liberal education in promoting civic virtue, as well as about its uncertain future in a complex and technologically demanding world.
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Parker Palmer and the Courage to Teach

Parker Palmer with Mark Gonnerman

Saturday, February 21, 2009 | 1:30 – 3:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

First published in 1998 and reissued in a tenth anniversary edition, Parker Palmer’s The Courage to Teach takes teachers of all levels on an inner journey toward reconnecting with themselves, their students, and their colleagues in ways that reignite vocational passion. The book builds on a simple premise: good teaching cannot be reduced to technique but is rooted in the identity and integrity of the teacher. Effective teaching takes myriad forms but good teachers share one trait: they are authentically present in the classroom and weave a life-giving web between themselves, their subjects, and students who must learn how to weave a world for themselves. Join us for a conversation with a teacher’s teacher who has a lifetime of ideas, insights and stories to share.
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Tibet: Where Continents and Cultures Collide

Simon Klemperer, Lyman P. Van Slyke, Tenzin Tethong, Emily Yeh, and Michael Zhao
with Orville Schell

Thursday, February 19, 2009 | 7:30 – 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

The Tibetan plateau, a land mass about the size of Western Europe, has great biodiversity despite its high altitudes. Known as “Asia’s Watertower,” Tibet’s glaciers feed rivers in China, India, and Southeast Asia. The region’s importance cannot be overstated, nor can the short- and long-term effects of environmental problems such as the declining quality of grasslands, melting glaciers, and rising population. Our conversation begins with a look at the physical geography of Tibet and will assess the impact of development projects and efforts to protect and restore an ecological system that is crucial for much of the planet.

Presented with the School of Earth Sciences

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Creative Couples Series:
Irvin and Marilyn Yalom

Irvin Yalom and Marilyn Yalom with Mark Gonnerman

Thursday, January 29, 2009 | 7:30 – 9:00pm | Kresge Auditorium | Free and Open to All

In the course of over fifty years of married life and raising four children, Irvin and Marilyn Yalom have made marks in their respective fields of psychotherapy and women’s studies with contributions through teaching and research leading to the publication of academic papers and popular books. Last year, they each presented their own research into death: Irv’s Staring at the Sun: Overcoming the Terror of Death and Marilyn’s The American Resting Place: Four Hundred Years of History Through our Cemeteries and Burial Grounds. Our conversation will begin with the Yaloms’ poignant explorations of human finitude and then turn to the story of their time together as a dual-career academic couple.
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