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UCSD Event: John Muir Symposium & Keynote with Donald Worster

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UC San Diego - The Village at Torrey Pines- Building #1

1 Scholars Drive North

La Jolla, CA 92093

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Please join us for a special symposium and keynote presentation as part of UC San Diego's John Muir College 50th Anniversary Celebration.

These events are FREE and open to the public. Space is limited - please RSVP!


About Events:

A naturalist, a writer, a philosopher, a glaciologist, the founder of the American National Parks, a conservationist that shaped the modern way to conceive wilderness, John Muir is more than an “inspirational figure” or the “patron saint of American conservationists”: he is one of the most potent roots of environmental culture, both in the US and globally. The impact of his ideas and actions, Donald Worster writes, was to “transform the United States and other nations into ‘green’ societies . . . where nature will become more than a ruthlessly exploited or even prudently managed ‘economic resource.’ Nature will be granted a higher emotional, spiritual, and aesthetic value—a value in itself.”

What is the role of John Muir today? In a time where environmentalism has never been more widespread and, yet, more necessary, can his thought still shape our debates and politics? In a world where both plural natures and eco-skepticisms are at home, how do his ideas relate to ethnic and non-Western visions?

On April 23, 2018, Muir’s birthday and Earth Day, some of the world’s foremost interpreters of his work and major figures of the environmental humanities debate will address these topics and questions, as they provide new insights into the legacy of this extraordinary figure.

Organized by Cristina Della Coletta, UCSD Dean of Arts and Humanities, John Moore (Muir College) and Serenella Iovino (University of Turin), this symposium, After the West: Rethinking John Muir, is an invitation to think again, with, and after John Muir on this open horizon.



SYMPOSIUM: 10AM - 4PM | A day of presentations by notable scholars

  • Joni Adamson
  • Terry Gifford
  • Linda Hogan
  • Scott Slovic
  • Kim Stanley Robinson
  • Pasquale Verdicchio




KEYNOTE LECTURE: 5-6:30PM | A special presentation by Donald Worster

About Lecture: The name and image of John Muir are scattered everywhere in California--on colleges and high schools, on mountain landscapes, on state icons and environmental legacies--as they are around the United States and across the world. He was one of the most famous environmentalists of modern history. Yet as environmentalism itself comes under attack from the right and the left, so does the legacy of Muir. We need to step back from our contemporary cultural wars to look for the complex truth of the man, his thought and passion, his role in history, and rediscover his relevance for today.

About Speaker: A native of the Mohave desert, Donald Worster is one of the founders of environmental history and a longtime historian of the American West. He is the author of "A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir" and its companion volume, "A River Running West: The Life of John Wesley Powell." Together, those biographies have won more than dozen prizes, including Scottish Book of the Year. His other writings have focused on the history of ecology, water and agriculture in the arid West, and most recently "Shrinking the Earth: The Rise and Decline of Natural Abundance." He lives in Oregon but spends much of his time teaching in Beijing and exploring China's history and landscapes.



PARKING: The closest guest parking is in the Pangea Parking Garage. *Note all visitors must purchase a temporary parking permit at the lot, as there is no free parking on campus. Without a parking permit, your car will be ticketed. (Read campus parking details)

DIRECTIONS: The lecture is located in West Building #1 in the Village at North Torrey Pines, on the corner of North Point Drive and Scholars Drive N. The building is a residential dorm, with meeting rooms on the top floor (15th floor).

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UC San Diego - The Village at Torrey Pines- Building #1

1 Scholars Drive North

La Jolla, CA 92093

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