“Endangered Humanities and Endangered Planet” – Talk with Wai Chee Dimock
Wai Chee Dimock is this year’s guest speaker. On March 13th she will speak on “Endangered Humanities and Endangered Planet: Thoreau and the Sixth Extinction,” and on March 15th she will speak on “Weak Environmentalism: Reading Bishop and Blake Today.”
This series was established in memory of our beloved Emeritus Professor, Barbara Packer. Barbara was not only the most distinguished scholar of Emerson to emerge since the Emersonian revival of the mid-1960s, but she also was a most generous colleague and teacher whose vivid intelligence, warm humor, and true grace were daily gifts to all who knew her. While Barbara’s path-breaking scholarship on Emerson and other nineteenth-century American authors was marked, in the words of her teacher, Harold Bloom, by “a warmth and generosity … unmatched elsewhere,” in Barbara we all encountered “a mind that startled us by its large scope,” to use Emerson’s words. One of a small band of scholars who edited Emerson’s works for Harvard, she wrote the historical introduction to his late work, The Conduct of Life (2007). Her account of the Transcendentalist movement in the Cambridge History of American Literature (1995) was later published as The Transcendentalists (2007), which Joel Myerson has called “the best extended study of Transcendentalism available.” She held a Visiting Professorship at Columbia in 1987 and was a Fellow of the Stanford Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences in 1989-90.