Author and naturalist Kem Luther will speak about “The Trouble with Wilderness: Romantic Wildness in a Post-Colonial World”. Current ideas about wilderness lands and wilderness preservation are heavily influenced by nineteenth century romantic notions of nature. Recent discussions of wilderness issues have identified these older ideas of wilderness as a problem to be overcome. The resulting “new wilderness debate” has been vigorous and confrontational. What ideas of wilderness will guide land conservation in the twenty-first century?
Naturalist and writer Kem Luther moved from a home on Ontario’s Grand River to the southern tip of Vancouver Island in 2004. While in Ontario, he was dean of Sheridan College’s joint program in Communication, Culture, and Information Technology with the University of Toronto. Kem grew up in the Nebraska Sandhills, studied at Cornell, the University of Chicago (PhD) and University of Toronto (MSc), and has taught at Eastern Mennonite University, Sheridan College, York University, and the University of Toronto. For the last two decades he has focused on writing interpretive articles and books. He is the author of Cottonwood Roots, The Next Generation Gap, and Boundary Layer.