Location: Bowdoin / Environmental Studies / Activity / 2011 / Eden on the Charles

Environmental Studies

Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston

Story posted September 23, 2010

Event date(s): February 16, 2011 — February 16, 2011

Wednesday, February 16, 2011 7:30 PM
Main Lounge, Moulton Union

Drinking a glass of tap water, strolling in a park, hopping a train for the suburbs: some aspects of city life are so familiar that we don’t think twice about them. But such simple actions are structured by complex relationships with our natural world. The contours of these relationships—social, cultural, political, economic, and legal—were established during America’s first great period of urbanization in the nineteenth century, and Boston, one of the earliest cities in America, often led the nation in designing them. In Boston’s history, we find the seeds of the environmental relationships that—for better or worse—have defined urban America to this day.

Michael Rawson received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin and spent two years as a Humanities Fellow at Stanford University. He is currently an assistant professor of history at Brooklyn College of the City University of New York. Professor Rawson’s research explores the relationship between nature and culture, often with special attention to its intellectual dimensions. His work has been supported by the Whiting Foundation and the Graham Foundation, and he has received a number of teaching and research awards. Professor Rawson is a native of Boston, and his environmental history of the citycalled Eden on the Charles: The Making of Boston—was released this past fall from Harvard University Press.

This talk is sponsored by Coastal Studies, the Environmental Studies Program and the History Department, with support from Bowdoin Concerts and Lectures.

"By tracing the myriad shifting connections between Bostonians and the natural environments that have sustained their lives, Rawson's Eden on the Charles offers vital new perspectives on the human place in nature and how people think about it--not just for Boston, but for all American cities, past, present, and future." --William Cronon, author of Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West