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Idea of Nature Lecture Series Presents Dan Philippon

By: Sherry Squires   Published 1:44 pm / March 4, 2013

Boise State will present “The Nature of Slow Food,” by professor Dan Philippon of the University of Minnesota, on March 12 as part of the second annual public lecture series titled “Interdisciplinary Explorations – The Idea of Nature.”

The goal of the series is to promote interdisciplinary inquiry and to foster dialogue across the campus and community, based on the premise that big questions need interdisciplinary answers. It examines how ideas of nature are expressed in literature, art, philosophy, music and other humanities disciplines.

The lecture will be held from 6-7 p.m. in the Boise State Student Union Building, Simplot A/D Ballroom. It is free and open to the public and will be followed by a reception with a cash bar and appetizers. To reserve a place for a free reception that follows the lecture, or for more information about free parking and the series, send an e-mail to or visit

Philippon’s lecture will focus on the “Slow Food” movement in Europe. Although Slow Food is often portrayed as a contrast to fast food, it is less about speed than scale. Visits with artisan food producers in Italy’s Piedmont region, where Slow Food was born, illustrate the weaknesses in the romantic understanding of nature as “other” and confirm that scale is the key variable in the search for sustainability.

Philippon is associate professor and director of undergraduate studies in the Department of English at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His teaching includes courses with compelling titles such as “Sustainable People, Sustainable Planet,”  “Science, Religion and the Search for Human Nature,” and “Writing from Plow to Plate: Sustainable Food Narratives in the United States.” He is the author of “Conserving Words: How American Nature Writers Shaped the Environmental Movement,” and his numerous essays and articles have appeared in volumes such as “The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism” and “Teaching North American Environmental Literature,” and academic journals such as American Literary History.

His recent research has been supported by a fellowship from the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, Germany, and by the Fulbright Foundation, which awarded him a fellowship that enabled him to live and pursue research in the Piedmont area of Italy in 2012.

“Interdisciplinary Explorations: The Idea of Nature” public lecture series is supported by the Boise State Arts and Humanities Institute, the Idaho Humanities Council, the Osher Institute of Lifelong Learning, the College of Idaho and the following Boise State entities: College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education, College of Social Sciences and Public Affairs, Extended Studies, Department of English, and the Environmental Studies Program.