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Performing Arts and Speaker Series

Patricia Limerick, Ph.D. - Parables from the Past: the Historian as Coach, Referee, and Trail Guide.

Patty LimerickTime: October 17, 2007 7:30pm

Location: Music Building Concert Hall


Historian of the American West and MacArthur Genius Grant Award winner

Dr. Limerick will be giving a talk highlighting the individuals who have devoted their lives and careers to the study of history. These individuals must balance their encounters with people who are profoundly bored by history and who seem to carry a lasting sense of grievance over the fact that they had to study such a tedious subject in school, and with others who's enthusiasm for the company of historians is almost at a fever pitch, with many Americans hoping that historical perspective will help them make better choices. For a historian responding to this hope, life becomes an ongoing experiment testing the hypothesis: lessons from history have the power to guide our actions in concrete and practical ways.

The work of the Center of the American West- ranging from legislative efforts to help the clean- up of abandoned mines to the making of a film comparing the adoption of fossil fuels in the Industrial Revolution to the adoption of renewable energies in our time- provides illuminating case studies for the exploration of the question: Can historians be of help to their fellow human beings?

Best known for her work, The Legacy of Conquest, an overview and reinterpretation of Western American history that has fueled academic and public debate, Limerick has dedicated her career to bridging the gap between academics and the general public and to demonstrating the benefits of applying historical perspective to contemporary dilemmas and conflicts. Limerick is also a prolific essayist, and in the summer of 2005, she served as a guest columnist for the New York Times. Some of her more recent works include compelling Western issues, including What Every Westerner Should Know About Energy (2003) and Cleaning Up Abandoned Mines (2006). Limerick is also known as an energetic, funny, and engaging public speaker. In 1995, she received a MacArthur Fellowship in recognition of the impact of her scholarship and her commitment to teaching. Currently, Limerick serves as the faculty director and chair of the board of the Center of the American West at the University of Colorado, where she is also a professor of history.

For more information about Patty Limerick,

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