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Grayson Lecturer Explores Link between Human History and Natural History

Courtesy photo; Dr. Lauret Savoy
Courtesy photo; Dr. Lauret Savoy

Dr. Lauret Savoy will present “Alien Land Ethic: The Distance Between,” Keene State College’s 2009 Janet Grayson Lecture in Literary Studies, on Monday, April 27, at 6 p.m. in the Thorne-Sagendorph Art Gallery Conference Room. An hors d’oeuvres reception to honor Janet Grayson, KSC professor emerita, will precede the lecture at 5.30 p.m.

Lauret Savoy is professor of Geology and Environmental Studies at Mount Holyoke College. A woman of African-American, Euro-American, and Native-American heritage, she writes across threads of cultural identity to explore their shaping by relationship with and dislocation from the land. Her books include Bedrock: Writers on the Wonders of Geology, The Colors of Nature: Culture, Identity, and the Natural World, and Living with the Changing California Coast.

In this talk, Dr. Savoy connects her father Willard Savoy’s 1949 novel of racial passing, Alien Land, with the environmental ethics of another famous book published in that same year: Aldo Leopold’s A Sand County Almanac. Her work considers how braided strands of human history and geologic-natural history contribute to stories we tell of land’s origin and history, and to stories we tell of ourselves in the land and of relational identity. Sponsored by the Department of English and the School of Arts and Humanities, the annual Janet Grayson Lecture in Literary Studies is named in honor of Dr. Grayson, professor emerita of the KSC Department of English. For more information contact Dr. William Stroup at or 8-2692.

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