Keynote Address 2017

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Professor Thomas M. Lekan is Associate Professor in the Department of History and the School of Earth, Ocean, and Environment at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, SC. Professor Lekan is a senior scholar of humanity’s impact on the environment and the cultural and ethical dimensions of sustainability. His research also engages with the values that shape our relationship with the natural world.

Keynote Address: “Last Refuge: On the ‘Strange German’ Quest to Save the Serengeti”

Professor Lekan earned his Ph.D. in Modern European Social History at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, his M.A. in Modern European Intellectual History and American Environmental History at the University of Washington at Seattle, and his B.A. in History at Carleton College.

He is the author Imagining the Nation in Nature: Landscape Preservation and German Identity, 1885-1945 (Harvard UP), co-editor with Thomas Zeller of Germany’s Nature: Cultural Landscapes and Environmental History (U Maryland P), and co-editor with Rob Emmett of the open-source anthology Whose Anthropocene? Revisiting Dipesh Chakrabarty’s Four Theses of Climate History, as well as number articles and book chapters. In addition, he served as an interviewee and faculty consultant on the BBC series “Unnatural Histories: Part I: Serengeti,” and co-editor of Tales of the Tidelands: Oral History, Documentary Production, and Environmental Values in the South Carolina Lowcountry. He continues to work with the Congaree Cultural History Project in South Carolina.

Professor Lekan’s current research — and the larger project from which his keynote speech derives — is titled Saving the Serengeti: Tourism, Conservation and the Cold War in Germany and East Africa. It is under contract with Oxford University Press. A co-convener of the very first the Southeastern German Studies Colloquium in 2008, we are delighted to welcome Professor Lekan as our keynote speaker on this tenth anniversary of the Workshop.

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