American and New England Studies

Kent Ryden to Give Talk at Maine Audubon Society

Working of Nature and Culture in Northeast at Maine American Studies

ANES Program Director, Professor Kent Ryden will present a talk on The Working of Nature and Culture in the Northeast as part of the Audubon Society's Speaker Series on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013 from 7:00-8:30pm.

Professor Ryden will focus on such topics as the development of water powered industry and the rise and decline of agriculture in New England, to make suggestions on the ways in which landscape elements ranging from regional settlement patterns to the rise of fall foliage as a regional icon have resulted from the interplay of human activity with the specific natural conditions found in the New England environment.

Ryden asserts many people tend to think of “nature” and “culture” as separate entities, that is, the notion that something stops being “natural” once it is subject to the book manipulations of culture. In New England, however, the distinctive regional landscape that we see today is the result of a certain natural and cultural processes working together under specific historic circumstances.

Professor Ryden has taught at University of Southern Maine’s Portland Campus in the ANES department for nearly twenty years. He holds a PhD in American Civilization from Brown University and has authored three books: Mapping the Invisible Landscape: Folklore, Writing, and the Sense of Place; Landscape with Figures: Nature and Culture in New England, and The Sum of the Parts: The Mathematics and Politics of Region, Place, and Writing.