Monday 2 April 2012

News: Special Seminar on Henry David Thoreau

Exciting news: the School of American Studies is delighted to announce that it will be hosting a special seminar for graduate students and faculty members on American writer Henry David Thoreau in May.

The seminar will have an innovative focus: analyzing the processes and products of Thoreau’s extensive land surveying work for what they reveal about his ethics and politics. The primary course reading will be a recent work in American studies, Thoreau the Land Surveyor, copies of which will be made available to seminar participants. With this book as starting point, students will discuss the implications of multiple interdisciplinary critical approaches. At the same time, they will be challenged to describe related approaches and will be encouraged to theorize their own means and methods for bridging the gap between the natural sciences and the humanities. Seminar participants will be asked to articulate questions about the strengths and limitations of applying “hard science” to humanities topics. Putting such methodological questions into play aims to produce useful ways of thinking about cross-disciplinary research. The seminar will be led by the book’s author, Patrick Chura, associate professor of English at the University of Akron.  It is hosted by the School of American Studies, and funded by the Fulbright Commission.

Patrick Chura is associate professor of English at the University of Akron, where teaches courses in American literature. He is the author of two books and has published articles on a variety of literary historical topics.  His recent book, Thoreau the Land Surveyor, won the College English Association of Ohio’s Nancy Dasher Award for outstanding work in literary scholarship. He has been a Peace Corps Volunteer and Fulbright scholar in the Republic of Lithuania, and has received research grants from the European Union, the Fulbright Foundation, and the University of Akron.   He serves on the editorial boards of The Eugene O’Neill Review and Lituanus.

The seminar will consist of four sessions to be held on Thu May 10th, Tues May 15th, Thu May 17th, and Tues May 22nd. More details soon!

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