An ongoing series of public conversations with international figures in the humanities and arts by Nicholas Allen, Professor in Humanities and director of the Willson Center.
2021 – 2022
Date: Sept. 9, 2021
Cynthia Barnett, Environmental Journalist in Residence at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications in Gainesville, Florida, is an award-winning environmental journalist who has reported on water and climate change around the world. Her new book, The Sound of the Sea: Seashells and the Fate of the Oceans (W. W. Norton, July 2021), is a natural and cultural history of seashells and the animals that make them—revealing what they have to tell us about nature, our changing oceans, and ourselves.
Barnett is also the author of Rain: A Natural and Cultural History, longlisted for the National Book Award and a finalist for the 2016 PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award; Blue Revolution: Unmaking America’s Water Crisis, which articulates a water ethic for America; and Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S. She has written for National Geographic, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, and many other publications.
Date: Oct. 7, 2021
Alan Parks is the best-selling author of the Harry McCoy series of Glasgow noir mysteries.
Before beginning his writing career, Parks was creative director at London Records and Warner Music, where he marketed and managed artists including All Saints, New Order, The Streets, Gnarls Barkley, and Cee Lo Green. His love of music, musician lore, and even the industry, comes through in his prize-winning mysteries, which are saturated with the atmosphere of the 1970s music scene, grubby and drug-addled as it often was.
Parks’ debut novel, Bloody January, propelled him onto the international literary crime fiction circuit and won him praise, prizes, and success with readers. The second book in the Harry McCoy series, February’s Son, was a finalist for a MWA Edgar Award. Parks was born in Scotland, earned an M.A. in Moral Philosophy from the University of Glasgow, and still lives and works in the city he so vividly depicts in his Harry McCoy thrillers.
Date: Oct. 28, 2021
Nell Andrew is associate professor of art history at UGA. This conversation will center on her 2020 book Moving Modernism: The Urge to Abstraction in Painting, Dance, Cinema, which recovers performances, working methods, and circles of aesthetic influence for avant-garde dance pioneers and experimental filmmakers from the turn of the century to the interwar period in Europe—including Loïe Fuller, Valentine de Saint-Point, Sophie Taeuber, Akarova, and Germaine Dulac—to demonstrate the significant role played by the arts of motion in the historical avant-garde’s development of abstraction.
Andrew teaches courses in Modern Art, the historical avant-garde, dance history, and early film. She is also co-director, with Susan Rosenbaum (UGA English), of the Interdisciplinary Modernism/s Workshop, a faculty research cluster sponsored by the Willson Center.
Date: Dec. 8, 2021
Nick Hunt is a freelance writer and storyteller, publishing articles and features in The Guardian, The Economist, New Internationalist, and other publications. Much of his work focuses on the links between culture and ecology. He is the author of four books: Walking the Woods and the Water, Where the Wild Winds Are, The Parakeeting of London, and his latest, Outlandish, which tells the story of four journeys to some of Europe’s “unlikely landscapes” – a patch of arctic tundra in Scotland; primeval forest in Poland and Belarus; Europe’s only true desert in Spain; the grassland steppes of Hungary – that act as portals to faraway parts of the world and to faraway times.