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Decline and Resilience, Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Rosanne Kennedy (Gender, Sexuality and Culture, Australian National University) studies trauma, testimony, and memory, with a particular focus on indigenous and Holocaust texts. Her recent publications include “Humanity’s Footprint: Reading Rings of Saturn and Palestinian Walks in an Anthropocene Era,” which was published in an award-winning issue of Biography on “Post-Human Lives” (2012). In 2014, she organized an MLA roundtable on “Humanities in the Anthropocene Era,” and she is currently working on a project which reads Moby Dick and a novel by Kim Scott, That Deadman Dance, to explore the role of whaling in colonialism and the extirpation of indigenous people and whales. It also looks at the movement to end whaling in Australia in the 1970s and conceptually brings together frameworks from memory studies, settler colonial / indigenous studies, and ecological studies.

Kathleen Morrison (Anthropology, University of Chicago) studies the archaeology and historical anthropology of South Asia with a focus on precolonial and early colonial South India. Her interests include state formation and power relations, agricultural organization and change, colonialism and imperialism, landscape history, anthropology of food and stable isotope analysis, urban-rural relations, botanical analysis, Holocene hunting and gathering, and the integration of archaeological, historical, and ecological analysis. She is the editor, with Susanna B. Hecht and Christine Padoch, of The Social Lives of Forests: Past, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence (U Chicago Press, 2013).

Lizabeth Paravisini-Gebert (Hispanic Studies, Vassar) works in the fields of literature, ecocriticism and environmental history, art history, and cultural studies, specializing in the multidisciplinary, comparative study of the Caribbean. She is the author of a number of books, among them Phyllis Shand Allfrey: A Caribbean Life (1996), Jamaica Kincaid: A Critical Companion (1999), Creole Religions of the Caribbean (2003; 2nd Revised Edition, 2011; with Margarite Fernández Olmos), Literatures of the Caribbean (2008), and José Martí: A Life (2014). Her current book projects include Extinctions: Colonialism, Biodiversity and the Narratives of the Caribbean, Troubled Sea: Ecology and History in 21st-Century Caribbean Art, and Bagasse: Caribbean Art and the Debris of the Plantation. At Vassar, she is a member of the Programs in Environmental Studies, Latin American Studies, International Studies, and Women’s Studies.

Richard White (History, Stanford) specializes in the history of the American west, environmental history and Native American history. His book, The Middle Ground: Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (1991), was a Pulitzer Prize nominated finalist. It also won the Francis Parkman Prize for the best book on American History, the Albert B. Corey Prize for U.S.-Canadian History, the James A. Rawley Prize for the history of race relations, and the Albert J. Beveridge Award for best English-language book on American History. His latest book, Railroaded: The Transcontinentals and the Making of Modern America (2011), won the Los Angeles Times Book Award. White is a co-director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West and the former President of the Organization of American Historians. He received a MacArthur fellowship was awarded a Mellon Distinguished Professor grant in 2007. White is the principal investigator for “Shaping the West,” a project in the Spatial History Lab at Stanford University, which explores the construction of space by transcontinental railroads during the late nineteenth-century.