Center for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities

Wildness, Wilderness and the Environmental Imagination

The Future of Water
9th Annual Symposium
Spring Semester, 2013

The Big Thirst

Public Lecture
Monday, February 25, 2013
Memorial Union Great Hall
8:00 PM
Moderated Panel Discussion
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Memorial Union Cardinal Room
9:00 PM

Charles Fishman is the author of The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water. Fishman's previous book, New York Times bestseller The Walmart Effect, was the first to crack open Walmart's wall of secrecy, and has become the standard for understanding Walmart's impact on our economy and on how we live. The Economist named it a "book of the year." Fishman is a former metro and national reporter for the Washington Post, and was a reporter and editor at the Orlando Sentinel and the News & Observer in Raleigh, NC. Fishman has won numerous awards, including three times receiving UCLA's Gerald Loeb Award, the most prestigious award in business journalism. Fishman grew up in Miami, Florida, and attended Harvard University.

The Future of Water Symposium

Thursday, March 28 - Friday, March 29
Memorial Union Pioneer Room

The largest domestic natural gas drilling boom in history has swept across the United States. The Halliburton-developed drilling technology of "fracking" or hydraulic fracturing has unlocked a "Saudia Arabia of natural gas" just beneath us. But is fracking safe? When filmmaker Josh Fox is asked to lease his land for drilling, he embarks on a cross-country odyssey uncovering a trail of secrets, lies and contamination. A recently drilled nearby Pennsylvania town reports that residents are able to light their drinking water on fire. This is just one of the many absurd and astonishing revelations of a new country called GASLAND. Part verity travelogue, part expose, part mystery, part bluegrass banjo meltdown, part showdown.


Elizabeth Bradfield is the author of Interpretive Work, which won the Audre Lorde Award, and Approaching Ice, a finalist for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. She has been awarded fellowships and scholarships from Stanford University's Wallace Stegner program, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, and elsewhere. In 2005, Bradfield founded Broadsided (

Dg Nanouk Okpik is Inupiaq, Inuit originally from Alaska's Arctic Slope. Her family resides in Barrow, Alaska. She holds a BFA in Creative Writing from the Institute of American Indian Arts and an MFA in Creative Writing from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. Her poetry has been published in Ahani: Indigenous American Poetry, Many Mountains Moving, Poet Lore, Washington Square, Red Ink, Sentence, and Effigies: An Anthology of Indigenous Writing from the Pacific Rim. Recently her poetry has been anthologized in Sing: Poetry from the Indigenous Americas. Corpse Whale is her first book.

Julia Whitty was born in Bogota, Colombia, and immigrated as a child to the United States with her Tasmanian father and Anglo-Indian mother. She holds dual American and Australian citizenships. She is the author of three award-winning books, all published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt: Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of our Wild Ocean, The Fragile Edge: Diving & Other Adventures in the South Pacific, and A Tortoise for the Queen of Tonga. Whitty is an environmental correspondent at Mother Jones and a blogger at The Blue Marble and Deep Blue Home. A former filmmaker, her more than 70 nature documentaries have aired on PBS, Nature, The Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Outdoor Life Channel, Arts & Entertainment, and with many other broadcasters worldwide.

Ten Thousand Flags, Ten Thousand Wishes for Rivers: A Kinship of Rivers Event

Readings by Wang Ping & Rick Bass
Monday, April 8, 2013
Sun Room, Memorial Union
7:00 PM

Rick Bass has published and edited over 25 works of nonfiction, nature writing, essay collections, short story collections, novellas, and novels including Why I Came West, The Watch, The Lives of Rocks, and Nine-Mile Wolves. Bass was born in Texas, the son of a geologist. He received a B.S. in geology at Utah State University in 1979. Bass started writing short stories on his lunch breaks while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi. The recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, Rick Bass has received an O. Henry Award and a Pushcart Prize, and his fiction has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories as well as numerous journals and magazines. His nonfiction has been included in Best American Travel Writing and Best Spiritual Writing.

Wang Ping was born in Shanghai and grew up on a small island in the East China Sea. She attended Beijing University, and in 1985 she earned her Ph.D. from New York University. Her books include two collections of poetry (The Magic Whip and Of Flesh & Spirit); the cultural study, Aching for Beauty: Footbinding in China; a novel, Foreign Devil; two fiction collections (American Visa and The Last Communist Virgin), and a book of Chinese folk lore, The Dragon Emperor. The Last Communist Virgin was awarded the 2008 Minnesota Book Award and the 2007 Book Award from the Association for Asian American Studies. Her work has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Minnesota State Arts Board, the Loft Literary Center, and the Bush Foundation.

The 2013 Richard Thompson Memorial Lecture
The 2013 English Department Goldtrap Lecture

Crazy Brave: Lecture by Joy Harjo
Monday, April 1, 2013
Great Hall, Memorial Union
8:00 PM

Joy Harjo: Author, poet, and musician Joy Harjo is one of the leading Native American voices of our time. Her new memoir, Crazy Brave, is a tale of a hardscrabble youth, teenage motherhood, and her journey to becoming an internationally recognized writer and performer. Joy Harjo's body of work features seven books of poetry, including How We Became Human-New and Selected Poems, The Woman Who Fell From the Sky, and She Had Some Horses. She has also released four CDs of original music and in 2009 won a Native American Music Award for Best Female Artist of the Year. Her many other awards include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America.

MAJOR SPONSORS: The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, Humanities Iowa, MFA Program in Creative Writing and Environment, Writers for Wildness and the Creative Imagination (WWCI), Committee on Lectures (funded by GSB), Department of English, Center for Excellence in the Arts & Humanities, ISU Bioethics Program, Department of History, Department of Geological & Atmospheric Sciences, Henry A. Wallace Endowed Chair for Sustainable Agriculture, College of Design, Department of Landscape Architecture, Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, and Department of Ecology, Evolution & Organismal Biology.