Sustainability- Spring 2019

Many scholars refer to the last sixty years as the Great Acceleration, a period of rapid growth in population, resource consumption, landscape changes, carbon pollution and other forms of that are transforming the human relationship with the natural world. These last sixty years have also been marked by tremendous social, economic and technological changes that have improved the wellbeing for much of the world’s population, though unevenly and inequitably. Responses to the changes and challenges have included individual efforts to live more sustainably; private sector initiatives to “green” business practices; community-level programs to create sustainable, just and resilient communities; national programs to promote sustainable development; international agreements and governance processes in support of sustainable development goals; and numerous proposed pathways to the deep decarbonization of energy systems. The Clarke Forum theme for spring 2019, SUSTAINABILITY, will focus on many of these big ideas in sustainability, including debates about limits to growth; politicization and communication of science; climate change and social justice; indigenous knowledge; sustainable lifestyles; sustainable tourism; circular economies; arts and sustainable design; food waste; transnational food systems; the roles of technology; and public participation in science.

Mark Blashford

Lanky Yankee Puppet Co.

Jack & Jill

Thursday, April 18, 2019
The Cubiculo, 7 p.m.

A one-man puppet show performed by actor, puppeteer and musician Mark Blashford, featuring hand-carved, folk-toy-inspired puppets and live music. The story addresses water conservation and water rights presented in the style of an Appalachian Jack Tale. Appropriate for children. After the show, Blashford will host a Q&A including a discussion of using children’s art to address serious environmental problems.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Center of Sustainability Education,  Alliance for Aquatic Resources Monitoring (ALLARM), and the department of theatre & dance. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Mark Blashford is a Chicago-based actor, puppeteer, and musician. He specializes in traditional puppet performance, including: marionette, shadow, rod, and hand puppetry. As a trained puppet builder, Blashford has studied in Germany, Iceland, the Czech Republic, and the University of Connecticut’s Puppet Arts Program. Blashford is a recipient of The American-Scandinavian Fellowship Award and The Jim and Jane Henson Scholarship Award. In 2018 he was an artist in residence at the University of Central Arkansas for a multidisciplinary live performance entitled “Water About Us,” which included underwater dance, music, film, and puppetry. While in Chicago, Blashford has worked with several theatres including: Lookingglass, Lifeline, Hell in a Handbag, Rough House, The Annoyance, Blair Thomas & Co. and The Chicago International Puppetry Festival. He is currently touring his one-man show, Jack & Jill.

Video of the Lecture


Monica White – Event to be Rescheduled for Fall 2019 or Spring 2020

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Cooperatives and Building Community Wellness

Monday, April 15, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This talk will document the history of Black agricultural cooperatives and the use of food as strategy for freedom, particularly in Detroit, Michigan.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the departments of Africana studies, American studies, the Center for Sustainability Education, and the Food Studies Program. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Monica M. White is an assistant professor of environmental justice at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and past president of the board of directors of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. She is the first African American woman to earn tenure in both the College of Agricultural Life Sciences and the Gaylord Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and teaches courses in urban agriculture and community food systems. Her research investigates communities of color and grassroots organizations engaged in the development of sustainable, community food systems as a strategy to respond to issues of hunger and food inaccessibility. She has presented widely on these subjects, from University of Western Cape in South Africa to UC Berkeley to the Detroit Public Library. She is the author of Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement (UNC Press, January 2019).

José-Damian Ruiz-Sinoga

University of  Málaga

Soil Degradation as an Indicator of Global Change

Tuesday, April 2, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This talk will analyze the role of soil and its degradation processes as an indicator of Global Climate Change, as crucial for understanding a new framework of sustainability, and as key to establishing mechanisms for adapting to Climate Change.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the departments of environmental studies; Spanish & Portuguese; earth sciences; the Center for Global Study & Engagement; and the Center for Sustainability Education. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.


José-Damian Ruiz-Sinoga is professor of physical geography at the University of Málaga. He is also head researcher of the Physical Geography and Landscape research group. His areas of research include soil-water-plant relationships at different scales, processes of desertification and soil degradation in Mediterranean environments, Incidence of the EU directive of abandonment of crops on soil degradation processes, the role of human and socio-economic aspects in the integral management of watersheds, Global Change indicators in Mediterranean landscapes. and impact of global warming in the South of Spain.

Video of the Lecture

Linda Hogan

Poet and Novelist

An Evening with Writer Linda Hogan

Wednesday, March 6, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Poet and novelist Linda Hogan will read from a selection of her works, many of which connect to themes related to gender, Indigeneity and the environment.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and co-sponsored by the Women’s & Gender Resource Center and the departments of creative writing, English, American studies and women’s, gender & sexuality studies. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Linda Hogan (Chickasaw), former faculty at Indian Arts Institute, writer-in-residence for The Chickasaw Nation, and professor emerita from the University of Colorado, is an internationally recognized public reader, speaker, and writer of poetry, fiction, and essays. In July, 2014, DARK. SWEET. New and Selected Poems, was published from Coffee House Press. Her other books include INDIOS (Wings Press, 2012), a long poem and also a one-woman performance piece; ROUNDING THE HUMAN CORNERS (Coffee House Press, April 2008, Pulitzer nominee) and the well-regarded novel PEOPLE OF THE WHALE (Norton, August 2008). Works include novels MEAN SPIRIT, a winner of the Oklahoma Book Award, the Mountains and Plains Book Award, and a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.  SOLAR STORMS, is a finalist for the International Impact Award, and and New York Times Notable Book of Year. POWER was also a finalist for the International Impact Award in Ireland. It was based on the killing of a Florida Panther, a most endangered species.

Poetry, THE BOOK OF MEDICINES was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Her other poetry has received the Colorado Book Award, Minnesota State Arts Board Grant, an American Book Award, and a prestigious Lannan Fellowship from the Lannan  Foundation. In addition, she has received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship and has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas, The Wordcraft Circle, and The Mountains and Plains Booksellers Association. Hogan’s most recent award was the 2016 THOREAU PRIZE from PEN, and a Native Arts and Culture Award.

Her lyrical work is considered to be writing of literary quality that illuminates a new Environmental and Indigenous Activism, as well as Native spirituality. It is included in anthologies not only in literature but in works on Nature, Science and the Environment, including Animal Studies.

Hogan’s nonfiction includes a respected collection of essays; DWELLINGS: A SPIRITUAL HISTORY OF THE LIVING WORLD; and THE WOMAN WHO WATCHES OVER THE WORLD: A NATIVE MEMOIR. In addition, she has, with Brenda Peterson, written SIGHTINGS, THE MYSTERIOUS JOURNEY OF THE GRAY WHALE for National Geographic Books, and edited several anthologies on nature and spirituality. She wrote the script, EVERYTHING HAS A SPIRIT, a PBS documentary on American Indian Religious Freedom.

Hogan was inducted into the Chickasaw Nation Hall of Fame in 2007 for her contributions to Indigenous literatures.

She edited a book of work from thirty years of Parabola essays on Native spirituality, The Inner Journey: Native Traditions, for Morning Light Press. This is a collection of essays on myth and tradition from Parabola Magazine. Her main interests as both writer and scholar are environmental issues, indigenous spiritual traditions and culture, and Southeastern tribal histories. She is currently on the Board of Advisors for Orion Magazine, and several organizations.

DARK. SWEET. NEW AND SELECTED POEMS is a collection of Hogan’s work since the 1970’s. It’s publication contains selections from previous published works and shows her powerful growth as an Indigenous writer, thinker, and environmentalist.

Hogan recently finished a new book of poems, A HISTORY OF HAPPINESS, as well as a novel: THE MERCY LIARS. She is now finishing a book of essays entitled THE RADIANT LIFE OF ANIMALS, the title taken from her chapter on Traditional Indigenous Knowledge and animals in a new book on Tradition Ecological Knowledge coming out from Oxford University Press.

Hogan was involved for eighteen years with the Native Science Dialogues, and the new Native American Academy and for several years with the SEED Graduate Institute in Albuquerque. She presented a 90 minute program at the International Congress of the Parliament of World Religions in Melbourne, Australia, as well as participating on a panel on Tribal Sovereignty at the same Congress in December 2009.

She is in demand as both a lecturer and a reader of her own work, nationally and internationally. She continues to travel for literary readings and to participate in conferences.

Hogan’s work was translated into all major languages by the U.S. Information Office.She was a keynote speaker in Spain at the Eco-criticism gathering in Alcala,’ at major universities in Taiwan, at the International Studies on Religion, Culture, and Nature in Amsterdam, at International EASLE (Literature and Environment), in Turkey, and was a plenary speaker at a 2013 conference in Taiwan on Migrants and Memory. More recently she gave the keynote at the ASLE conference in Moscow, Idaho, a reader and speaker in Podgorica, Montenegro at the International Writers Conference sponsored by the US embassy and Karver Bookstore, and at the recent Environmental Humanities conference in Perpignan, France.

In April 2014 Hogan was one of the writers adding to the 200 year record of the Andrews Long Term Research site in the forest near Corvallis, Oregon, a collaboration between scientists and artists which at this time continues to influence her writing.

Barbara Brown Wilson

University of Virginia

Resilience for All: Striving for Equity Through Community-Driven Design

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

This talk will focus on the author’s research on community-driven efforts to make change in underserved communities and the lessons these efforts illuminate for resilience theory and practice. A book sale and signing will follow.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the Center for Sustainability Education and the departments of art & art history and environmental studies. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Barbara Brown Wilson is an assistant professor of urban and environmental planning and the director of inclusion and equity at the University of Virginia School of Architecture. Her research and teaching focus on the history, theory, ethics, and practice of sustainable development, and on the role of urban social movements in the built world. Her work investigates the role of codes (e.g. building, land use, and societal) and coalitions working in the service of more resilient communities. Wilson is particularly interested in the efficacy of mechanisms employed in vulnerable communities, interrogating how the disproportionate impacts of environmental injustice have been remedied or exacerbated by development practices. Her work is often change-oriented and community-engaged, meaning she collaborates with community partners to identify pathways for regenerative community development that create knowledge to serve both local and academic communities. She is a recipient of the 2018 UVA All-University Teaching Award, and the author of two books: Resilience for All: Striving for Equity through Community-Driven Design (Island Press, 2018) and Questioning Architectural Judgement: The Problem of Codes in the United States (Routledge Press, 2013).

Video of the Lecture



Beth Norcross – “Wesley Lecturer”

The Center for Spirituality in Nature

Wesley Lecture

Church of the Wild: A New and Old Way of Experiencing Spirituality

Wednesday, January 30, 2019
Stern Center, Great Room, 7 p.m.

Norcross will share information about her organization’s new Church of the Wild, that gathers people in nature to celebrate the mutual indwelling of the Divine and the earth. She will discuss how the gathering is attracting both regular church-goers as well as those for whom traditional church is not appealing.

This lecture is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and the Center for Service, Spirituality and Social Justice with special thanks to the Baltimore-Washington Conference of the United Methodist Church and co-sponsored by Division of Student Life; the College Farm; the Center for Sustainability Education; the Women’s & Gender Resource Center; and the departments of religion and environmental studies. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Founder and executive director Beth Norcross brings her training and experience in both theology and ecology in founding and leading the Center for Spirituality in Nature. An enthusiastic and popular teacher, speaker and preacher, she loves to share her passion and affection for both the earth and the Spirit with others.

Norcross is adjunct faculty at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., where she has developed and taught courses on eco-spirituality and eco-theology. She has spoken to a wide variety of churches, written several articles and developed educational resources for congregations, including a spiritual study guide to Ken Burns’ film, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea.

Along with colleagues Laurel Kearns and David Rhoads, Beth co-founded the Green Seminary Initiative dedicated to infusing care for the earth into theological education. She also recently served as the Steering Committee chair of the Greater Washington Interfaith Power and Light, a Washington, D.C.-based group that, as part of the national Regeneration Project, encourages congregations to limit their carbon footprints by reducing energy use.

The Wesley Lecture
The Wesley Lecture grows out of the historical relationship between Dickinson College and the Methodist Church, a relationship that has its roots in the 19th century. The lecture highlights contemporary conversations and controversies in faith communities and in higher education about the importance and role of community, commitment, and service for the education of the citizen-scholar.

Video of the Lecture


Macarena Gómez-Barris

Pratt Institute

Extractive Zones + Decolonial Praxis

Monday, January 28, 2019
Anita Tuvin Schlechter Auditorium, 7 p.m.

Based on her book, The Extractive Zone, this talk explores the old and new sites of land and water defense, and artistic and activist responses to these issues. Gómez-Barris will discuss work from the Américas to argue for alternative modes of living, being, and doing from within and outside of the extractive zones.

This program is sponsored by the Clarke Forum for Contemporary Issues and a Civic Learning and Engagement Initiative Grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and co-sponsored by the departments of Latin American, Latino & Caribbean studies; Spanish & Portuguese; environmental studies; art & art history; and anthropology & archaeology. It is part of the Clarke Forum’s semester theme, Sustainability.

Biography (provided by the speaker)

Macarena Gómez-Barris is chairperson of the Department of Social Science & Cultural Studies and director of the Global South Center (GSC) at Pratt Institute. She is author of three books including The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives that theorizes social life, art, and decolonial praxis through five extractive scenes of ruinous capitalism upon Indigenous territories (Duke University Press, 2017). Gómez-Barris’s recent book Beyond the Pink Tide: Art and Political Undercurrents in the Americas (UC Press 2018) asks us to imagine politics beyond the nation state. She is also author of Where Memory Dwells: Culture and State Violence in Chile (2009), and co-editor with Herman Gray of Towards a Sociology of a Trace (2010). Gómez-Barris is working on a new book project called At the Sea’s Edge. She was Fulbright Research Visiting Professor at Department of Sociology and Gender FLACSO-Quito, 2014-2015.

Related Links
Imagine Otherwise Podcast

Video of the Lecture