United States


Interdisciplinary Explorations: The Idea of Nature Public Lecture Series

February 14, 2017 - April 20, 2017
5 PM For Ketchum Event
6 PM For Boise Events

Lectures in Boise will be held in the Boise State Student Union Building.
Ketchum event will be held at the Community Library.


The goal of the series is to promote interdisciplinary inquiry about the environment and to foster dialogue across the campus and community, based on the premise that big questions need interdisciplinary answers.

How are conceptions of nature expressed in the sciences, literature, art, philosophy, music and other disciplines? How did ideas of nature change from 1660 to the present, a period of radical change and revolution?

These lectures are free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception with a no-host bar and appetizers.

For free reception tickets please email ideaofnature@boisestate.edu. Visit scholarworks.boisestate.edu/ideaofnature for information about free parking, or to view or download lectures.


The schedule:

Tuesday, February 14, 2017 • 5 PM in Ketchum at the Community Library 
Thursday, February 16, 2017 • 6 PM Boise at Boise State University
Deliberate Living: The Challenge of Walden in the 21st Century

Laura Walls 
Willliam P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English and Professor of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Notre Dame

Thoreau’s Walden remains one of the most-read and most-taught classics of American literature, yet it remains one of the most challenging of books. Why did Thoreau go to the woods? What did he learn there? And why didn’t he stay? These questions puzzled Thoreau himself, and his quest to compose answers that would bear the full weight of his life and thought led to the publication of Walden—which in turn led him to reach beyond his local audience and down the generations to us, today. Thoreau was a prophet as well as a naturalist and poet, and now that we live in the future he most feared, his call to live “deliberately” seems more urgent, and more difficult, than ever.

Thursday, March 16, 2017 • 6 PM
A Tapestry of Nature:  Emerging Themes of Disturbance and Recovery from Multiple Disciplines

Nalini Nadkarni    

Professor of Biology, University of Utah

The complexity, dynamics, and vulnerability of rainforests requires insights from many disciplines. Nalini Nadkarni brings deep experience of academic ecology to the loom of understanding forest landscapes, and weaves insights from seemingly distant ways of knowing as religion, social justice, traffic engineering, sociology, neuroscience, urban planning, and medicine to elucidate the processes of recovery following disturbance in a broad range of systems. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017 • 6 PM
The Ghostly Language of the Ancient Earth: The Idea of Nature in Deep Time

Scott Ashley   

Lecturer in Medieval History, Newcastle University, U.K.

In 1799 William Wordsworth imagined his younger self standing beneath the rocks of his native mountains listening to the ‘ghostly language of the ancient earth’. I also try to hear the echoes that come out of the deep past and decipher what we can learn from them about the entangling of the human and natural worlds and the origins of the idea of Nature.

Sponsored by:

Boise State University; Treasure Valley Food Coalition; Idaho Humanities Council; Osher Lifelong Learning Institute; The College of Idaho; The Community Library; The Nature Conservancy, Morrison Knudsen Nature Center; Idaho Conservation League; College of Arts and Sciences; School of Public Service; College of Education; College of Innovation and Design; College of Business and Economics; Department of Geosciences; Department of English; Environmental Studies Program; Hemingway Literary Center; Frank Church Institute


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