Environmental Historian Paul Sutter to Speak on Nov. 11

November 2, 2015

Tim Lucas, 919-613-8084, tdlucas@duke.edu

DURHAM, N.C. – Paul Sutter, an expert on the history of Southern forest conservation, will present a free public talk, “The Ecology of Erasure: Soil Erosion, Landscape Conservation and the Greening of the South,” at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 11 at Duke University.

The talk will take place at Field Auditorium in Environment Hall, located at 9 Circuit Drive on Duke’s West Campus.

It is the annual Lynn W. Day Distinguished Lectureship in Forest and Conservation History. A public reception will follow.

Sutter is associate professor of history at the University of Colorado and author of the newly published book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies: Providence Canyon and the Soils of the South ((University of Georgia Press.

In his talk at Duke, he will argue that the plantation-era South was a theater of environmental destruction. More than a century of tobacco and cotton cultivation left a landscape wracked by massive soil erosion. But in the decades after World War II, in what historian Thomas Clark famously called the “greening of the South,” soil erosion’s scars came to be hidden beneath a mantle of trees, obscuring one of the most important stories in American environmental history.

Sutter will explore this complex process—what he calls “the ecology of erasure”—and the hidden history, both environmental and social, that connected soil erosion and forest conservation across the region.

The annual Lynn W. Day Lecture is presented by the Forest History Society, Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and the Duke Department of History.  

In addition to Let Us Now Praise Famous Gullies, Sutter is also author of Driven Wild: How the Fight Against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement (University of Washington Press, 2002). He co-edited Environmental History and the American South: A Reader (University of Georgia Press, 2009) and co-wrote The Art of Managing Longleaf: A Personal History of the Stoddard-Neel Approach (University of Georgia Press, 2010).

For more information about the Nov. 11 talk, contact the Forest History Society at (919) 682-9319 or visit http://foresthistory.org/Events/lecture2015.html.