Harvard's James Engell to discuss environmentalism
RELEASED: April 3, 2008
DANVILLE, KY—Professor James Engell, Chair of the Department of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University, will present his lecture, "Environmental Education Now: Humanities & Sciences and Ecocriticism" on Thursday, April 10 at 7 p.m. in Young 101 on campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Engell is the author of several influential books of literary criticism, and much of his work in the past decade has centered on the humanities and the environment. His lecture will address the critical role these topics play in education today.
Engell also has spent time studying the relationship between the humanities and money in modern universities. In a study of the "Market Model University" in "Harvard Magazine," Engell and co-author Anthony Dangerfield say, "T he starved logic that sees money as the most desirable result of education--that knowledge is money or should be directly convertible to it" has resulted in "market-driven" education that results in a narrow, competency-based curriculum unsuited for tackling highly complex human problems.
Clearly the environment is one of those problems, he says. Engell is co-editor of "Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology" published in January 2008. Called "a comprehensive guide to environmental literacy" by the Yale University Press, the book explores how science, social science and humanities are all critical to the understanding of interrelationships in the natural world.
The book consists of 10 case studies, from urban development to climate shock. Each case study is followed by readings from various disciplines--including economic analysis, legal decisions, personal essays and poetry--to provide a balanced view of key issues in environmental studies.
Dr. Mark Rasmussen, Centre associate professor of English, says that it is a distinct honor for the College to welcome a scholar of Engell's stature and to have him speak on a topic of such widespread concern.
"Professor Engell's earlier work on Romanticism and on literature and public values has led him to believe that confronting issues relating to the environment is the single-most important challenge that faces educated people today, and that this challenge should be a major theme of courses in all sorts of different areas--not just the sciences, but the humanities (the arts, literature, philosophy, languages) and social sciences, as well," Rasmussen says. "His talk will address an issue that is of concern to us all, and I hope that many people from the College and our community will come to hear what he has to say."
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