Geo-history fights from the grave in Nov. 18 lecture


CORVALLIS, Ore. – The second lecture in the 2010–11 Horning Lecture Series, “The Historical Sciences,” will be given by Mott Greene, professor at the University of Puget Sound at 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18.

Titled “[Geo] History Fights Back from the Grave,” the lecture will be held in the Memorial Union, room 109, on the Oregon State University campus.

At the end of the last millennium, it appeared that historical modes of explanation were in retreat, both in the natural and the human sciences. Geology courses everywhere dropped historical geology and replaced it with geophysics. Similarly, core teachings in the humanities began to drop history requirements, as departments of literature cut back on classic texts in favor of recent and contemporary works.

According to Greene, the proclaimed “end of history” in both the sciences and the humanities has been prematurely announced, and there is a good deal of pressing historical work still to accomplish. The shape of this work, and the methods for pursuing it in the sciences and the humanities, are the subject of his lecture.

Mott Greene is the John Magee Professor of Science and Values at the University of Puget Sound and affiliate professor of earth and space sciences in the University of Washington. He is the author of three books: “Geology in the Nineteenth Century,” “Natural Knowledge in Preclassical Antiquity,” and a biography of the German geoscientist Alfred Wegener called “Alfred Wegener: Life and Scientific Work.” Greene is currently working on a study of the scientific thought of the French anthropologist Claude Lévi-Strauss (1908–2009).

“The Historical Sciences” lecture series explores some of the sciences that look at the past to tell us about the present. Through the eyes of experts in paleontology, geology, ecology, archaeology, and evolutionary biology, the series will find unexpected connections between the humanities and the sciences, and new ways to see the past and the present.

The Horning Lecture Series is made possible through the generous support the Horning Endowment in the Humanities. For more information, contact the History Department at 541-737-8560 or visit www.oregonstate.edu/cla/history