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Notre Dame Professor to Give Shannon-Clark Lecture

Laura Dassow Walls, the Willliam P. and Hazel B. White Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame, will give the Shannon-Clark lecture at Washington and Lee University. Walls will speak on Thursday, March 28, at 8 p.m. in Northen Auditorium, Leyburn Library.

The title of her talk is “Transcendental Counterfrictions: Thoreau and the Machine.” It is free and open to the public.

Walls’ works are in the transdisciplinary field of literature and science, with a focus on the 19th century. Her work is based in American literature, centered particularly in Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and American Transcendentalism.

She is the author of “The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America” (Chicago, 2009), which was awarded the Merle Curti Prize for Intellectual History by the Organization of American Historians, the James Russell Lowell Prize for Literary Studies by the Modern Language Association and the Kendrick Prize for Literature and Science by the Society for Literature, Science and the Arts.

Walls edited “The Oxford Guide to Transcendentalism” (2010) and “More Day to Dawn: Thoreau’s ‘Walden’ for a New Century” (2007). Recent co-edited articles include “The Cosmopolitan Project of Louisa May Alcott,”  “From the Modern to the Ecological: Latour on Walden Pond” and “Greening Darwin’s Century: Humboldt, Thoreau, and the Politics of Hope.”

Her interest in reweaving science, literature and culture in cosmopolitical contexts has led her back to the writings and career of Henry David Thoreau, and she is working on a volume of ecocritical theory, “West of Walden: Deliberate Reading in a Panarchic World,” and a new biography of Thoreau, “Writing the Cosmos: A Life of Henry David Thoreau,” for which she received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2010.

Other awards in addition to the three for “The Passage to Cosmos” (above) are the Russell Research Award for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Research Fellowship, Center for Humans and Nature; and a fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Walls received her B.A. and M.A. from the University of Washington and her Ph.D. from Indiana University.

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Julie Cline
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