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Tapestry Thinking and Tapestry Actions: Weaving Threads of Science, Arts, and the Humanities to Create the Good Life
November 3, 2010 @ 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
A lecture by Professor Nalini Nadkarni (The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington), world-renowned Forest Ecologist, TED lecturer, and former Guggenheim fellow, in connection with the humanities course “What is the Good Life?”.
When members of academia ask “what is the good life?”, we tend to draw answers from particular and separated subfields of the humanities, the sciences, and the arts. However, intentionally weaving together approaches and contents of different disciplines and ways of knowing can provide rich answers to that and other large questions. I offer a scientist’s perspective, and define three elements of the good life: gathering knowledge, understanding controls, and creating connectedness. To illustrate how insights from a scientific approach might help understand the good life, I describe a piece of my own scientific work: understanding the biology of one tiny part of the biosphere – the mosses that grow on branches in remote tropical rainforest treetops. I then extend my thread of knowledge about moss and trees by deliberately interweaving it with strands of insights from religious studies, history, ethics/social justice, and the expressive arts to create a larger tapestry that helps answer my questions more completely. The processes and results of deliberately interweaving knowledge from multiple disciplines enhances my ability to make better predictions and fosters connectedness with other parts of the human experience, all of which contributes to the good life.
On Wednesday, November 3rd at 10:30 a.m., Professor Nadkarni will also meet with graduate students, humanities professors, and people interested in sustainability issues to discuss the role of the Humanities in conservation.
The events are sponsored by the Office of Academic Affairs, the Office of Sustainability, ACCENT, the Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere, the Department of Religion, the Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions, (CHiTra), and I-cubed.