DaiHoChunHeaderComboDai Ho Chun Endowment for Distinguished Lecturers events are made possible in whole or part through a generous estate gift from the late Dr. Dai Ho Chun, a distinguished and visionary educator.

––Weil lecture info below––

MSU photo by Kelly GorhamTwo lectures by  Brett L. WalkerMontana State University, Bozeman 

Monday, March 10, 2014 | 3–4:30p | Tokioka Room (Moore 319)

Bio-cultural Diversity in the Anthropocene

 The linking of cultural identities and knowledge creation to local environments has roots in Western science. Alexander von Humboldt, in his “Essay on the Geography of Plants” (1807), developed such connections, as did the geographer Ellen Semple in her The Influences of Geographic Environment (1911) and the philosopher Watsuji Tetsurô in his Fûdo (On Climate). For better or worse, scholars have tied the fate of cultural development to environmental and geographic contexts. The advent of the Anthropocene Epoch, however, with its bio-stratigraphic homogenization of Earth’s natural environments, threatens this bio-cultural diversity. In this lecture, I look at case studies from my own research regarding the ways that industrial homogeneity is destroying cultural and biological diversity, including in the micro-biome of our own bodies. Today, we risk undermining the bio-cultural diversity that supports the seeds of future human potential and accomplishments.

Download the flyer.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014 | 6p | Art Auditorium

WalkerTalkAn Environmental History of Terrorism: 9/11, World Trade Center Dust, and the Global Nature of New York’s Toxic Bodies

On September 11, 2001, when al-Qaeda terrorists destroyed the Twin Towers, they released a 1000-ton toxic bomb that enveloped Lower Manhattan. Nobody knows the amount of toxins, such as asbestos, that World Trade Center workers, first responders, and Lower Manhattan residence were exposed to from the initial dust plume, but with an alarming spike in cancer deaths among people involved in the 9.11 emergency, the exposure amount was surely high.

Among those toxins released was Libby Montana’s asbestos, which, in the form of Grace’s Zonolite “Mono-kote” product, had coated some of the steel skeleton of the iconic structures. Libby’s asbestos was only one of hundreds of potentially dangerous substances brought to New York to built the Twin Towers, pulverized during 9/11, and introduced to local people. Importantly, that an alphabet soup of dangerous substances mined and extracted around the world now reside in the bodies of New Yorkers, and sickens them, make them artifacts of modern globalization, symbolized by the World Trade Center and the violent dismantling of it. As Mr. Michael Valentine, who worked in the debris for months and now has lymphatic tumors in his chest, succinctly put it, “We all have terminal illnesses, we are all going to die.” Mr. Valentine is a casualty of the ecologies of terrorism.

The toxic dust plume from the World Trade Center served as a warning sign of the dangers that occur when the infrastructure of the modern built environment, built as it is from asbestos and other hazardous materials extracted globally, comes tumbling down. As New Yorkers breathed in deeply the world trade center dust, while frantically trying to rescue their own, New York’s local urban ecology, the one that flowed through local bodies, surrendered to the world ecologies tapped to build the Twin Towers, and the global politics and religion that precipitated their cruel destruction.

Download the flyer.

Brett L. Walker received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013 for his project, “The Slow Dying: Asbestos and the Unmaking of the Modern World.” He studies environmental history, the history of human health, and the history of science. His books explore how humans have altered the environment, or have been altered by the environment, across both historical time and geographic space.


A lecture by Zoe Weil,  Institute of Humane Education

Friday, March 14, 2014 | 6p | Art Auditorium

WeilHow to be a Solutionary

In this public lecture, Weil  addresses enduring questions which perplex us all, including: How can we solve the grave problems in the world? What role can each person play? How can each of us make choices in our life to do the most good and least harm and transform unjust systems into ones that are peaceful and sustainable? In this interactive presentation, Weil will offer tools and inspiration for becoming a solutionary.

Watch Ms. Weil’s TED talk, “The World Becomes What You Teach.”

Download the flyer.

Zoe Weil is the co-founder and president of the Institute for Humane Education and is considered a pioneer in the comprehensive humane education movement that works to create a humane, peaceful, healthy and just world for all people, animals, and the environment through education.