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The Humanities Conference 2003

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Presentation Details

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Place Matters: Cultivating Commitments to Local Soil and Local Memory

Kerry Neville Bakken, Terrell Dixon.

This presentation focuses on the ways in which place-based environmental education cultivates a necessary commitment to what poet and essayist Wendell Berry calls “local soil and local memory.” Traditionally, rural places are often seen as antidotes to cities; and cities often seen as sites of dis-placement and alienation from the natural world. However, we will examine how a bioregional approach, even in cities or tourist towns, effectively counters the homogeneity of globalization, as well as the placeless-ness of the virtual world, through an analysis of three regional “texts”: the urban (Houston, Texas), the rural (Meadville, Pennsylvania), and the immediately local (Rhodes, Greece). We will explore how to move beyond mere aesthetic appreciation or denunciation of particular environments to a committed place-based education. We will spend time both in and out of the conference room, with a practical demonstration based in Rhodes Town.


Kerry Neville Bakken  (United States)
Visiting Assistant Professor
Allegheny College

BA Colgate University 1994
MA, PhD University of Houston in Literature and Creative Writing 2000.

Teaching Interests: Fiction Writing, Nature Writing, EcoCriticism, American Literature.

Terrell Dixon

  • Environmental Literature
  • Bioregionalism
  • Place-based education

(60 min Workshop, English)