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After the West: Rethinking John Muir

University of California, San Diego

After the West - Rethinking John Muir

On April 23, 2018, the University of California, San Diego, sponsored a special John Muir Symposium as part of UC San Diego's John Muir College 50th Anniversary Celebration.

The Keynote at the end of the symposium was presented by noted Muir biographer and historian Donald Worster. The full text is available on our site here:

The keynote was preceded by a full day of presentations by notable scholars:

  • Terry Gifford, Bath Spa University, UK, "John Muir's Errors"
  • Pasquale Verdicchio, UC San Diego, "Making Waves in the Spirit of Nature"
  • Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, "Savoring What Remains of the World's Wildness: John Muir's Contributions to 21st Century Experiential Outdoor Education"
  • Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, "Peripatetic Legacies: John Muir, Walking, and the Path to Environmental Justice"
  • Linda Hogan Poet and Author, Writer-in-Residence for the Chickasaw Nation Writer-in-Residence for the Chickasaw Nation, "John Muir: 50 Years of Change and Loss, an Indigenous Perspective."
  • Kim Stanley Robinson, Science Fiction Writer, "John Muir as Writer and Actor Network"
  • Summation from UC San Diego:

    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 figures of the environmental humanities debate addressed 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, was an invitation to think again, with, and after John Muir on this open horizon.


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