William Cronon to deliver 2014 Walter Harding Lecture

This year’s Walter Harding Lecture will be delivered by William Cronon, Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

william_cronon_hiresThe lecture, titled “Wildness and the Preservation of the World: From Walden Pond to the 1964 Wilderness Act and Beyond,” will take place in SUNY Geneseo’s new Doty Recital Hall on Monday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m. As always, the Harding Lecture is free and open to the public.

The recipient of a 1985 MacArthur Fellowship, Professor Cronon is the author or editor of numerous publications, including Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England (Hill & Wang, 1983), Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (W. W. Norton, 1995), Under an Open Sky: Rethinking America’s Western Past (W. W. Norton, 1992), and Nature’s Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West (W. W. Norton, 1991). Changes in the Land won the 1984 Francis Parkman Prize of the Society of American Historians. Nature’s Metropolis won the 1992 Bancroft Prize, the George Perkins Marsh Prize of the American Society for Environmental History, and the Charles A. Weyerhaeuser Award of the Forest History Society. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in History.

Professor Cronon’s area of study is American environmental history and the history of the American West. According to his website, his research “seeks to understand the history of human interactions with the natural world: how we depend on the ecosystems around us to sustain our material lives, how we modify the landscapes in which we live and work, and how our ideas of nature shape our relationships with the world around us.”

In 2012-13, Professor Cronon served as president of the American Historical Association. He has published essays on the practice of history and on the goals of a liberal education.

With Professor Paul Robbins, director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Dr. Cronon was interviewed on National Public Radio’s Science Friday for a September 2013 story on “Saving Wild Places in the ‘Anthropocene.'”.

An active citizen as well as scholar, Dr. Cronon serves on the governing council of the Wilderness Society and holds leadership positions in numerous other organizations dedicated to land conservation and to the history and protection of the environment.

Dr. Cronon’s lecture will be followed by a reception in Doty Hall.

Summer 2014 Roundup

A few things that our faculty, students, and alumni have been up to recently:

  • Professor Rachel Hall was selected from a very competitive pool of applicants for an Ox-Bow Summer Arts Faculty Residency and Fellowship supported in part by an Art Works Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Geneseo alum (2010) Meghan Pipe’s short story “Contingencies” won third place in Glimmer Train’s Very Short Story Contest. One of the most respected short-story journals in print, Glimmer Train is represented in recent editions of the Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses, New Stories from the Midwest, The PEN/O. Henry Prize Stories, New Stories from the South, Best American Mystery Stories, Best of the West, and Best American Short Stories.
  • Professor Paul Schacht led a workshop at the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering on using the two websites created by the internet resource Digital Thoreau. One site — The Readers’ Thoreau — enables readers to engage in online conversation right in the margins of Thoreau’s works; the other — Walden: A Fluid Text Edition enables readers to follow changes to the manuscript of Thoreau’s Walden across the work’s long period of composition (1846-1854). Together with Professor Kristen Case (University of Maine, Farmington), Schacht has written an essay describing how Geneseo and UM students discussed Walden with each other using the The Readers’ Thoreau in spring 2014. The essay will appear in the December issue of the journal Pedagogy, published by Duke University Press.
  • Professor Ed Gillin led a panel of Geneseo students and alumni at the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering in a discussion of the Thoreau-Harding Project, the multi-semester Geneseo course in which students are building a replica Thoreau cabin on the Geneseo campus. On another panel, Gillin read a paper on “Thoreau, Wallace Stevens, ‘Sunday’ and ‘Sunday Morning.'”

Herzman presents on Dante in the classroom

Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Ron Herzman

Distinguished Teaching Professor of English Ron Herzman

At the annual meeting of the Dante Society of America this past weekend (May 17), Distinguished Teaching Professor Ron Herzman participated in a panel titled “Dante in the Classroom and the Community.” He was joined on the panel by Terry Quinn, Barbara Rosenblitt, and William Stephany. The panelists discussed how they’ve used Dante in their teaching and in presentations to non-academic audiences.

Since 1999, Herzman and Stephany have together organized ten NEH-funded seminars on Dante’s Commedia in Siena, Italy.

Peace Poetry 2014

SUNY Geneseo’s Department of English recognized the winners of the Genesee Valley Peace Poetry Contest on Mother’s Day, May 11, at 3 p.m. in Wadsworth Auditorium on campus. Prof. Rob Doggett organizes the yearly contest for kindergarten through 8th grade students from 19 area school districts in the Genesee Valley.

This year, the department received more than 1,200 poems from which 80 winners were selected.

You can watch video of the awards ceremony, at which the winners read their poems, here.

English major Amy Bishop to appear in Susquehanna Review

amy_bishop_headshotThree poems by rising senior English major Amy Bishop (Creative Writing) will appear in the upcoming issue of the Susquehanna Review, an annual international undergraduate journal run by students at Susquehanna University that features work in fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, and visual art.

The three poems are “Envisaging Hot Springs During the Winter Solstice”; “[Winter punctures my sore spots]“; and “Inheriting Grandmother’s Wedding Plates.”

The current issue of the review contains a poem by SUNY Geneseo creative writing track alum Dan O’Brien.

2014 English department awards and scholarships

We’re pleased to announce this year’s winners of department awards and scholarships. We’ll be celebrating these formally in the Walter Harding Lounge, Welles 111, on Wednesday, May 7 at 3:30 p.m.


  • Natalie Selser Freed Memorial Scholarship – Rebecca Miller and Sean Neill
  • Rita K. Gollin Senior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature – Jessica Irwin
  • Rita K. Gollin Junior Year Scholarship for Excellence in American Literature – Jo-Ann Wong
  • Hans Gottschalk Award – Matthew McClure
  • Joseph M. O’Brien Memorial Scholarship – Andre Doeman and Michelle Mundt
  • Don Watt Memorial Scholarship – Christina Mortellaro and Hannah Pruch
  • Bonnie Henzel Memorial Scholarship – Julianne DeSilva, Erin Koehler, Sarah Rusnak, and Eric Wegman
  • Jesse Rodgers Scholarship – Nikki Toner and Sean Fischer

Writing Awards

African American Studies

  • 1st – Nikita Rumsey
  • 2nd – Erin Beach
  • 3rd – Megan Nolan

Critical Essay

  • 1st – Jarad Sassone-McHugh
  • 2nd – Christine O’Neill and Nikita Rumsey
  • Honorable Mention – Meghan Kearns and Gregory Palermo

First Year Writing

  • 1st – Jessica Heppler
  • 2nd – John Panus
  • 3rd – Erik Mebust

Creative Non-Fiction

  • 1st – Suraj Uttamchandani
  • 2nd – Adam Camiolo
  • 3rd – Meghan Kearns


  • 1st – Kirstin Freiman
  • 2nd – Megan Nolan
  • 3rd – Katie Soares
  • Honorable Mention – Stephon Lawrence


  • 1st – Lucia LoTempio
  • 2nd – Erin Koehler
  • 3rd – Bibi Lewis
  • Honorable Mention – Devon Poniatowski