The most important challenge facing current and future generations of humans will be the quality of the environment and the allocation of dwindling natural resources among populations. In the face of severe challenges, we believe in the possibility of changing the trajectory of humans on the planet for the better. To that end, Wesleyan’s College of the Environment seeks to develop informed citizens who can discuss environmental issues from a variety of disciplinary perspectives, understand their connections to social or political issues, and derive well-formulated independent conclusions.
College of the Environment - EARTH MONTH ACTIVITIES
APRIL 21, 2015 - EARTH DAY - GREGG MITMAN TALK - FORGOTTEN PATHS OF EMPIRE AT NOON -EXLEY SCIENCE CENTER, ROOM 058
In 1926, Richard Pearson Strong, head of Harvard’s Department of Tropical Medicine, led an eight-member scientific team on a four-month long biological and medical survey of the interior region of Liberia. The expedition was thoroughly entangled in the material relationships—transportation infrastructure, labor regimes, and commodity production—being erected by the Firestone Plantations Company in Liberia to secure a viable rubber supply for the United States. While Firestone’s continued presence in Liberia is one lasting legacy of the expedition, so too is the motion picture record the expedition left behind.
This talk embarks on a journey that follows the traces of an expedition and a film never made to make visible the forgotten paths of empire that led to widespread economic, environmental, and cultural change in the West African republic of Liberia. In doing so, Gregg Mitman shall highlight the circulation of knowledge, commodities, and microbes that brought ecological and evolutionary understandings of disease into being. And he will also suggest how we might take the imperial debris of a scientific expedition produced in the service of capital and make something new of its ruins.
APRIL 22, 2015 - EARTH DAY - GREGG MITMAN FILMING ON EBOLA AT 4:30PM IN USDAN, DANIEL FAMILY COMMONS
In the Shadow of Ebola (2015, 27 minutes)
This film is an intimate story of a family and nation torn apart by the Ebola outbreak. Caught in an invisible war that is painfully reminiscent of the chaos and confusion they lived through during a fourteen-year civil war, a family and a people find the compassion and inner resolve to combat the virus's spread.