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Release: Immediate

Narratives of environmental history are focus of visiting professor's lectures Nov. 2-3

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- William Cronon, one of the nation's premier scholars of environmental history and the history of the American West, will present two lectures on the topics at the University of Iowa as an Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor Nov. 2-3.

The first lecture, "A Place for Stories: Nature, History and Narrative," will be presented at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2 at Brewery Square, Room 107, 123 North Linn Street in Iowa City. The lecture will be presented as monthly seminar hosted by the Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry (POROI).

The second, "Telling Tales on Canvas: Landscapes of Frontier Change," is an Ida Beam public lecture that will be presented at noon Tuesday, Nov. 3 in the Senate Chambers of the Old Capitol Building at the UI.

Environmental historians study the interactions of humans and the natural environment over time, says James Throgmorton, associate professor of urban and regional planning and POROI executive committee member. Cronon researches and chronicles the ways human communities and natural environments modify one another, and he argues that the way we describe and understand the natural world is deeply entangled with our own values and assumptions.

Cronon was invited as a distinguished visiting professor by POROI and four other co-sponsoring departments. POROI is the host of the two free and public events.

Cronon is a professor of history, geography and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The former Rhodes Scholar taught for more than 10 years at Yale University as a professor of history.

"Cronon is a brilliant scholar who has influenced generations of environmental historians, geographers, students of American studies and environmentalists in general. Having him speak here provides an exciting opportunity for the university community," says Throgmorton.

Several of Cronon's scholarly works on humanity's relationship with the environment have won awards. His 1991 book, Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in history and in that same year, it was named best literary work of non-fiction by the Chicago Tribune.

Persons wanting to attend the events and who have a disability requiring special accommodation should call POROI at (319) 335-2753.