National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institute
Prescott, Arizona • June 22 – July 17, 2009
Sponsored by the Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University Participant Biographies Bryan Bannon: I defended my dissertation entitled Developing a Theoretical Framework for an Environmental Ethic in the Phenomenologies of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty in August of 2008. Since then, I have been working as a visiting assistant professor at Miami University, teaching environmental philosophy and ethical theory courses. My research has mainly dealt with the metaphysical considerations involved in environmental ethics: I believe that relational ontologies, such as those found in phenomenological and process traditions, are a more fruitful soil for environmental thought since they eliminate the need to establish the reality of intrinsic value in nature, can provide a definition of nature that is not exclusive of human beings, while helping to answer the question of how human beings might live in natural world. My interest in Leopold stems from his intuition that the value of “country” or “wilderness” is not a product of any given property of the land, but the sum of relations that obtain between an embodied subject and its environs.
My name is Bryan Bates. I first met Aldo Leopold (via Sand County Almanac) while working as a summer camp counselor at an adventure camp in Crested Butte, Colorado. I also met Rachael Carson, Roderick Nash, Jeremy & Benny Russell and several other naturalist/authors who inspired me into a life of teaching about the natural world and human relations with nature. After graduating from college with a self-designed (BA) degree in Native American Studies, I hung out in Crested Butte as a ski bum until offered a grad assistant position in Illinois where I earned an MA in Environmental Science. Wanting to combine my interest in Native Americans with teaching, I student taught (and then stayed for 5 years) at Rough Rock Demonstration School in the middle of the Navajo reservation. Given the social isolation, I spent my summers in Flagstaff, Arizona taking chemistry classes and hiking/ boating the region. (By the way, chemistry is not the correct antidote for social isolation.) I left Rough Rock and got a job as a wilderness counselor/science teacher at Rocky Mountain Academy in Bonners Ferry, Idaho working with kids who had real emotional blockages which resulted in a lot of them coming to RMA from jail. It was the toughest job I have ever loved as I had to unpack my own emotional baggage. During that time, my class built a full-scale model of Stonehenge as their science project, an event that turned me into an archaeoastronomer. I left Bonners Ferry in 1987, returned to Flagstaff and (now) environmental chemistry (Acid Rain Chemistry and Photosynthesis) while concurrently starting (via an established school) a high school for delinquent native American kids. Further explanations will require coffee (am) or a hike. I then designed and built my own 2-story, resource re-cycling, solar Hogan which earned the Coconino County residential sustainability award in 1994. I continued my archaeoastronomy research, which has led to an unpaid career as a presenter, author and researcher. (More coffee, please.) During the interludes of time, I continued guiding (land, river, whatever) for such organizations as Grand Canyon Field Institute, Four Corner School Outdoor Ed, American Association for Advancement of Science and National Geographic. (Amazing how Leopold and those authors referred to above centered my career in to helping others learn about and appreciate the natural world.) I have taught Env. Science and several other courses at Coconino Com College for the past 18 years, avoided the Chair position (not my cup of tea), and attempted to get my students to understand the basics of “nature literacy.” I am happily married with a 13-year old daughter and gardening the same land I began caretaking 30 years ago. Looking forward to a fascinating 4 weeks together.
Joshua David Bellin teaches American, Native American, and Environmental literature at La Roche College in Pittsburgh. The author of three books, including The Demon of the Continent: Indians and the Shaping of American Literature (2001) and Medicine Bundle: Indian Sacred Performance and American Literature, 1824-1932 (2008), he has also published numerous articles on antebellum northeasterners' relationship to American Indians, including an essay on “Transcendentalism and Native American Rights” forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Transcendentalism. Dr. Bellin is co-designer of an interdisciplinary program in Sustainability Studies at La Roche, and co-founder of the Citizens Climate Corps, a regional grassroots network committed to climate change education and activism. He regularly teaches A Sand County Almanac and other Leopold essays, and hopes to use the summer institute to explore further the intersection of environmental literature and environmental justice issues.
Jane Caputi is Professor of Women’s Studies and Communication & Media Studies at Florida Atlantic University. She has written many articles along with three books, The Age of Sex Crime; Gossips, Gorgons and Crones: The Fates of the Earth; and Goddesses and Monsters: Women, Myth, Power and Popular Culture, and collaborated on Websters’ First New Intergalactic Wickedary of the English Language with Mary Daly. She also has made an educational documentary, The Pornography of Everyday Life, and is now working on another book and film project, Green Consciousness. At Florida Atlantic University she has received several awards, including the Distinguished Teacher of the Year for 2001, the Degree of Difference Award for 2004, and Researcher of the Year for Scholarly and Creative Activities, at the Professor level, for 2005.
Adrienne Cassel teaches English at Sinclair Community College in Dayton, OH. She is also finishing up a Ph.D. in poetry at the University of Cincinnati. When she isn’t grading and/or writing, she is peddling her Trek for as many miles as times permits or walking her lovely dog, Luna, along the Little Miami River. She also spends at lot of time in her (4-cylinder) Subaru driving between Dayton and Atlanta to visit the grand kids. She was recently awarded the 2009 OATYC Teaching Scholarship for her project entitled, “Walking in a Weathered World: Using Place-based Education to Improve Student Learning, Increase Environmental Awareness, and Engage with Local Communities.”
Bohdan Dziadyk is Professor of Biology and Director of Field Stations at Augustana College. An immigrant from Germany, he earned B.A. and M.S. degrees in biology from Southern Illinois University and a Ph.D. from North Dakota State University studying the structure and functions of grassland ecosystems in Minnesota. Since joining the faculty in 1980, Bo has served as Co-director of the Environmental Studies program, an interdisciplinary program designed to prepare students for professional education or for employment in numerous environmental fields. He has taught a variety of courses at Augustana; these currently include General Botany, Plant Ecology, Local Flora, Ethnobotany and, on international terms, Applied Ecology. In sustained research, starting in 1988, he worked in the Midwest Pew Science Consortium (including Augustana) with faculty collaborators and Pew student scholars and fellows every summer for the seven year life of the program. Beginning in 1991, Dr. Dziadyk established the College’s field stations complex in northern Illinois. Since then he has served as Director and works with a Field Stations Governing Board to promote teaching, research and outreach activities for the Augustana community and other groups. Totaling nearly 600 acres, the three stations - Green Wing Environmental Laboratory, Collinson Ecological Preserve and Beling Ecological Preserve - represent microcosms of the native grasslands, woodlands and wetlands of Illinois. Supporting the goals of the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission for preserving native habitats, he and the Governing Board recently established the Josua Lindahl Hill Prairies Nature Preserve. Among other interests, Bo likes to combine teaching with travel and exploration, having made seven teaching trips to Latin America, four of these on the Augustana international term and three separately to biological field stations in Costa Rica and Nicaragua. He has also taught on an international term to India and once drove solo 7,000 miles through eastern Australia on sabbatical.
Kevin Ells was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and grew up in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He earned a Bachelor of Commerce in finance with a minor in music at Dalhousie University, Halifax. He later taught ESL and business courses for the Toronto School Board while working toward a Master of Environmental Studies in media and political ecology at York University. At a Midwestern state technical college, he taught introductory courses in accounting, communication, composition, computers, economics, ESL, and marketing, while earning a certificate in computer networking, before moving with his family to Louisiana. A non-traditional student in the doctoral program in Rhetoric in the Department of Communication Studies at Louisiana State University, he joined the faculty at Louisiana State University at Alexandria as Assistant Professor of Communication Studies in 2006. He defended his dissertation and became a US citizen in the waning hours of 2007. A participant in the rhetoric section of the 2005 National Communication Association Doctoral Honors Seminar, his articles have appeared in Text and Performance Quarterly and Environmental Communication and are forthcoming in Journal of Enterprising Communities and Explorations in Media Ecology. Priscilla Eppinger serves as Associate Professor of Religion at Graceland University where she teaches courses in religious studies, theology, ministry, and the humanities. In 2007 she was selected for participation in a Fulbright-Hays Seminar Abroad in Poland and Russia. Her area of expertise is contemporary Christian theology and her current scholarly interest is the appropriation and representation of religion by popular culture. Priscilla has taught a course in Ecological Theology for about 6 years and this summer will be developing a course in Environmental Ethics to teach in the fall. Priscilla currently lives in Lamoni, Iowa, with her two cats where she enjoys fiber arts, bicycling, traveling and gardening when she is not teaching.
Chris Frakes received a Masters of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School focusing on environmental theology and feminist theology. She received her Ph.D. from the Social, Ethical, Legal and Political Philosophy program at Binghamton University in 2005. She has been teaching at the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs since 2006. Her areas of teaching and research include Ethics (especially Aristotelian and Buddhist virtue ethics, environmental ethics and feminist ethics), Feminist Philosophy, and Social and Political Theory. Her publications include “Do the Compassionate Flourish?: Overcoming Anger and the Impulse towards Violence” (Journal of Buddhist Ethics) and “When Strangers Call: A Consideration of Care, Justice and Compassion” (forthcoming in Hypatia: A Journal of Feminist Philosophy).
John R. Harris is Director of the Monadnock Institute of Nature, Place and Culture at Franklin Pierce University, and a faculty member in the Environmental Science and American Studies Departments. He received his B.A. in Zoology and Ph. D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His work on the study of place in the Monadnock Region has appeared in Where the Mountain Stands Alone (University Press of New England, 2007), Teaching North American Environmental Literature (Modern Language Association, 2008), and Orion Magazine.
David Henderson: Two years ago, I came to the Department of Philosophy, University of Nebraska, Lincoln as the Robert Chambers Professor of Philosophy. Before that, I taught at the University of Memphis for 20 years. In both locations I have enjoyed wonderful colleagues. I began my career writing almost exclusively on the philosophy of the social sciences—with special attention to the fraught relations between explanation, interpretation, and rationality. In these matters, I took a strongly naturalistic line informed by my reading of empirical cognitive science. After receiving tenure, I felt free to work into additional areas of research. I began with work on naturalized epistemology as an unabashedly normative epistemology—again drawing on recent cognitive science, particularly drawing on ideas from connectionism. This led to a long and rewarding collaboration with Terry Horgan in which we have developed the idea of an Iceberg Epistemology in which much of epistemically important action takes place below the accessible surface to which epistemologists have traditionally attended. About 10 years ago, I began to develop an interest in environmental ethics. To date, I have pursued that interest largely in teaching; I teach an undergraduate class on the topic almost each semester. I am particularly interested in the philosophy of Aldo Leopold, and am concerned with the question of how emerging empirical work in moral psychology might suggest prospects for, or worries regarding, the expansion of moral community concern Leopold envisioned.
David R. Keller is Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Center for the Study of Ethics, and Chair of the Environmental Studies Program at Utah Valley University. After receiving a double-major baccalaureate degree in English and Philosophy from Franklin & Marshall College and a masters degree in Philosophy from Boston College, David earned a doctorate in Philosophy at the University of Georgia, where he also completed the interdisciplinary graduate Environmental Ethics Certificate Program. David authored “A Brief Overview of Basic Ethical Theory,” the lead article in Ethics in Action: A Case-Based Approach (Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), a book which he co-authored with Peggy Connolly, Becky Cox-White, and Martin Leever. His first book, The Philosophy of Ecology: From Science to Synthesis (co-authored with ecologist Frank Golley), was published in 2000 by the University of Georgia Press. He served as Editor of Teaching Ethics, the journal of the international Society for Ethics Across the Curriculum, from Spring 2006 to Fall 2007. He has contributed to the Encyclopedia of Environmental Ethics and Philosophy, The International Global Studies Encyclopedia, Classics of Philosophy: The Twentieth Century, and Terra Nova Books’ Writing on Air. David has published in the journals BioScience, Humanitas, Teaching Ethics, Environmental Ethics, Interdisciplinary Humanities, Ethics and the Environment, Ecosystem Health, Essays in Philosophy, Process Papers, Encyclia, and Journal of the Utah Academy. David served as Administrator and Chair of the Institutional Review Board from June 2003-August 2006, Acting Interim Dean for the School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences from January through May 2002. He was named Assistant Vice President for Scholarship and Research in January 2003, and subsequently served as Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs from August 2003 to August 2004.
Greetings! I’m Rick Kempa. For the past two decades, I’ve been at Western Wyoming College, a beautiful little two-year school located in Rock Springs. (Perhaps you’ve stopped for gas in my town on your way east or west on I- 80.) I teach a variety of courses—writing, ethics, comparative religions, humanities—and direct the college’s Honors Program, in which role I facilitate interdisciplinary collaborations, such as the one modeled by this seminar. I’m also a writer (with a special interest in wild places) and a backpacker (with a special love for the Grand Canyon and the Utah Red Rock country). I couldn’t be more excited about this seminar—the chance for a month-long conversation with a community of engaged, impassioned colleagues.
Kathryn J. Norlock is an Associate Professor of Philosophy and a steering committee member of the Environmental Studies program and the Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies program at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, the state's public liberal arts honors college. She specializes in ethical theory, feminist philosophy and environmental philosophy. Her recent publications include “Forgiveness and Environmental Ethics” (forthcoming in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics in 2009), and Forgiveness from a Feminist Perspective (Lexington Books, 2008). She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2001, and until she went to school there, she had never heard of Aldo Leopold. Since graduating, however, she has used A Sand County Almanac in a class every year, and regularly teaches courses in environmental ethics and moral relationships. She was born and raised in Chicago, and thinks it very outdoorsy of herself to walk to the nearest restaurant.
Rick Paradis lives in an old farmhouse in Middlesex, Vermont in the shadows of Hunger Mountain. He works at the University of Vermont where he directs the Natural Areas Center and is a member of the faculty in the Environmental Program. The center was established to advance education, research and outreach for the protection and management of natural areas and other conservation lands. Rick’s current research focus is on comparative landscapes with recent work comparing the history and conservation of the mountains in New England with the Highlands of Scotland. His teaching interests include conservation biology, land conservation and stewardship, field ecology, and ecological restoration. Rick enjoys wandering remote mountain landscapes, kayaking, skiing, photography, eating pies and raising Buff Orpingtons, a hardy breed of chicken the possesses a wonderful sense of humor.
Rebecca Potter. Associate Professor at the University of Dayton, Dayton OH. My background is in eighteenth-century American and British literature, with a focus on narrative theory and rhetoric, and received my doctorate from Brandeis University. I have taught literature at the University of Dayton since 2002, where I regularly teach a course on literature and the environment as well as a course on literature and ethics. Currently I am working with other faculty at University of Dayton on forming an interdisciplinary program on sustainability, energy, and the environment that will combine study in the arts, humanities, sciences and social sciences. In the area of research, I have written on Aldo Leopold’s trip to Germany. I am now writing a book on irony and environmental discourse. Aldo Leopold figures prominently in this study, as I find his chapter in A Sand County Almanac, “Thinking Like a Mountain,” as well as various incidental narratives both in Sand County and other essays, illustrate a kind of situational irony described to an extent by Kierkegaard, and which I am finding in other environmental writers. I look forward to talking more with seminar participants about this subject, and about their own work.
Ashley Pryor is an Associate Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies and Philosophy at the University of Toledo. My current work concerns women and engaged Buddhism, especially as it relates to creating more sustainable mindscapes and landscapes. I spent this past year working with colleagues to build a major in Sustainability, Ethics and Social Justice, and with them created our first outdoor classroom garden. I am currently working on a book length project on approaches to the non-human voice in a variety of western philosophic texts (Heidegger, Agamben, Plato, Caverro) and in works drawn from a variety of non-western contemplative and philosophic texts (mostly from the Zen Buddhist lineage). I am looking forward to a sabbatical (if such things still exist in the future) in Mongolia, where I am looking at the revival of Chod practice in women’s monastic communities. And I will travel to Viet Nam in January with Sakyadhita, a conference dedicated to women and Buddhism, where I will be presenting a workshop based on the teachings of Joanna Macy. I am really looking forward to meeting everyone in Arizona!
Shane Ralston will be an Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Pennsylvania State University-Hazleton, starting in fall 2009. He earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Ottawa in 2007. He has taught some combination of philosophy and political science courses for the past six years at the following institutions: University of Maine (Orono, ME), Western State College (Gunnison, CO), Cypress College (Cypress, CA), University of Ottawa (Ontario, Canada) and Mount Saint Mary’s College (Los Angeles, CA). He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Centre for Research on Ethics-University of Montreal (Quebec, Canada) in 2007-8. His areas of specialization are American pragmatism, ethics and social-political philosophy. He has published in Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society, Review of Policy Research and Education and Culture.
Sharon Rowe has lived and worked in Hawai‘i for 35 years. She has taught throughout the University of Hawai‘i system and is currently an Associate Professor in Humanities at Kapi‘olani Community College where she teaches courses in Philosophy and Dance. Her interests have always been interdisciplinary and cross cultural in their focus, and her publications include articles on Feminism and Chinese ethics, including environmental ethics; sport and ritual; and dance. For the past 15 years she has studied traditional Hawaiian dance, and its attendant arts with Hlau Hula o Kahokuloa and Hlau Hula o Hoakalei, with whom she currently performs. Her current interests include bringing the knowledge and values of Hawaiian culture into the mainstream discussion of ethics, and to promote cross disciplinary learning through the formation of Learning Communities.
Tal Scriven: I received my B.A. from South Florida in 1976 and my M.A. in 1977. I got my Ph.D. from Southern Cal in 1980 and, that year, joined the philosophy faculty at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. I have been there ever since. I chaired the department from 1984 until 1988 and I have been chairing it, again, since 2004. (Currently the department has 17 members, 14 of them are tenured or tenure-track.) I was a visiting professor at the University of Colorado in 1990-91 where I developed a course in environmental ethics. I have been teaching that course at Cal Poly since 1992. My original areas of research were game theory, social choice theory and ethics. I have published in the Journal of Philosophy, Theory and Decision, The International Journal of Applied Philosophy, Between the Species, and other places. My book, was published by SUNY Press. It is available at Amazon.com for 14 cents (plus $3.99 shipping).
Professor Kim Smith, Associate Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies at Carleton College, earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan and her law degree from the Boalt School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches courses in constitutional law, the judicial process, political theory, environmental ethics and environmental politics. Professor Smith’s first book, The Dominion of Voice: Riot, Reason and Romance in Antebellum Politics (University Press of Kansas, 1999) was awarded the 2001 Merle Curti Intellectual History Award by the Organization of American Historians. Her second book, Wendell Berry and the Agrarian Tradition: A Common Grace, was published in 2003, and her third book, African American Environmental Thought: Foundations, was published by University Press of Kansas in Spring 2007. She has also published articles in the Journal of Political Philosophy, Women’s Studies,Environmental Values, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics and Environmental Ethics. Professor Smith is currently working on a project exploring the status of nonhuman animals in liberal political theory.
Samuel Snyder: I recently completed my PhD in the University of Florida’s Graduate Program on Religion and Nature. My dissertation, “Casting for Conservation: Religion, Popular Culture, and the Politics of River Restoration,” explores the connection between religious experiences, values of nature, and lived environmental practices within American popular culture - paying special attention to the relationships of anglers, fish, rivers, and watersheds. I am interested in role of cultural values of nature in the midst of grassroots environmental politics, the resolution of environmental conflict, and ecological restoration. Other academic interests also include issues related to agriculture and sustainability, the local and Slow food movement, all the while seeking ways for individuals and communities to close the gap between expressed environmental values and lived practices. I am currently a Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion and Environmental Ethics at Kalamazoo College, MI. As my wife just earned a tenure track job at the University of Alaska – Anchorage, I will follow her there. Therefore, while, at the moment, I will be unemployed (by the university), I hope to use my PhD to work outside of academia and help fight to keep large mining interests away from Bristol Bay.
Gavin Van Horn received his undergraduate degree in religion from Pepperdine University, a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his doctorate from the University of Florida, with an emphasis on Religion and Nature. His primary areas of interest include: animals in religious traditions and myths; contested (sacred) spaces; and environmental history, particularly in relation to wildlife. His dissertation research was directed toward understanding the religious, cultural, and ethical values involved in the reintroduction of wolves to the southwestern United States. Van Horn is currently the Brown Junior Visiting Professor in Environmental Studies at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas.
Russ Winn is an Associate Professor in the Department of Government at New Mexico State University. Russ grew up in upstate New York where he received a BA in History and MS in Education from State University of New York at Albany. He moved to the Southwest in 1981 where he earned a Ph.D. in Public Administration from Arizona State University. He moved to Las Cruces in 1988. His research areas include drug policy and more recently environmental policy, particularly land use policy in the southwest. He has over twenty years experience in teaching graduate and undergraduate level courses in research and evaluation methods, public policy analysis, public administration, and environmental policy. Dr. Winn is the author of over two dozen journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers, many of them involving the evaluation of various public policies. Earlier this year Russ worked with the White Mountain Conservation League to develop a proposal to expand the Escudilla Wilderness (for more information see http://azwmcl.org/wilderness.html). The proposal is currently under review by the U.S. Forest Service. He is currently working with a group of environmental organizations from throughout the southwest to organizing a conference to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Aldo Leopold’s arrival in the region. The event will bring together academics, conservationists and policy makers to explore both the legacy of Aldo Leopold and the work that is yet to be done. The conference will be held this Labor Day weekend in the White Mountains of Arizona (for more information see http://leopoldcentennial.org).
Jason Zinser: I am a Visiting Assistant Professor of philosophy at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. I graduated form Florida State University in 2007. My dissertation centered on metaphysical aspects of evolutionary theory, but I have always had an interest, both personal and professional, in environmental philosophy. Though not feral, I grew up in the woods of Wisconsin and attended the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point. Later I rejuvenated the Environmental Ethics course at FSU and recently taught a course entitled Population, Poverty and the Environment. My current interests are in moral psychology and environmental ethics.