Humanities center to tackle 'changing climates' in speaker series

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News

The 'Changing Climates' series begins Sept. 26.

KALAMAZOO—The Western Michigan University Center for the Humanities is bringing together scientists and humanists in its annual speaker series to consider how the world's temperature and social climates are changing and what the earth's inhabitants need to know and do about it.

The series will explore how scientific research is defining issues that concern everybody, including the warming of the globe, the toxicity of the environment and the fundamental changes mankind is making to the natural world. The intersection of these and other issues provides both an opportunity and a necessity to talk across the usual boundaries within academia and beyond.

The series begins with Michele Oka Doner, an internationally renowned artist whose production encompasses sculpture, furniture, jewelry, public art, functional objects and video, who will speak at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 26, at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts, 314 S. Park St.

In her talk, titled "The Ocean as Inspiration, the Ocean as Fabricator," she will discuss works of art, such as the mile-long bronze and terrazzo floor at the Miami International Airport, that have been inspired by walks on the beach and "Sargassum," a recently completed installation in glass at the Miami Intermodal Center.

Upcoming presentations

Other upcoming series presentation dates, speakers, times, locations and titles of their talks include:

  • Oct. 10: Bill McKibben, author, activist and founder of, 7 p.m., Miller Auditorium, "Notes from the Front Lines of the Climate Fight."
  • Nov. 21: Kenneth Chang, New York Times science reporter, 6 p.m., 2452 Knauss Hall, "News Judgment vs. Opinion: Do I have an Agenda when I Write about Global Warming?"
  • Feb. 20: Peggy Shepard, cofounder and executive director of WE ACT for Environmental Justice in West Harlem, 6 p.m., 2452 Knauss Hall, "Advancing Environmental Health and Justice: A Community Perspective."
  • March 13: Sandra Steingraber, ecologist, author, cancer survivor and internationally recognized expert on the environmental links to cancer, 8 p.m., Dalton Theatre, Light Fine Arts Building, Kalamazoo College, "A Reading from 'Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.'"
  • May 15: Osama Mandany, professor of English literature and chair of the Department of English, faculty of arts, Menoufiya University, Egypt, 6 p.m., 2452 Knauss Hall, "'No Country for Old Men: Shifting Cultural Borders in Egypt."

For more information, email the Center for the Humanities at or call the center at (269) 387-1811.