The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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The Writer-in-Residence Program

The History Department at the University of Massachusetts Amherst is dedicated to the idea that an understanding of the past is essential to living in a vibrant democracy. As a measure of that commitment, the Department of History's Writer-in-Residence program facilitates sustained conversation with widely-read authors whose historical work engages broad public audiences.

Each year, with major funding from Five Colleges, Inc., we bring a writer of national prominence to campus for a week-long residency in order to give focused attention in our graduate training to writing for a range of audiences and in a variety of venues well beyond the monograph or scholarly article. Our guest visits courses and seminars, meets with students and faculty over coffee, lunches and dinners, and gives a public lecture on campus or in Amherst. The residency is embedded within our signature seminars, Writing History and History Communication. In this way, graduate students from UMass Amherst expand their ability to write for a wider array of readers, sharing the insights of our discipline both within the academy and well beyond.

2021 Writer In Residence: Gregg Mitman

Week of March 22, 2021

Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher whose interests span the history of science, medicine, and the environment in the United States and the world.  A past president of the American Society for Environmental History, he is the recipient of fellowships from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, and the John S. Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, among others. His books and co-edited volumes include Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene (University of Chicago Press, 2018), Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape our Lives and Landscapes (Yale University Press, 2007), and Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film, rev. ed. (University of Washington Press, 2009).  He co-produced and co-directed two films, In the Shadow of Ebola, an intimate portrait of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and The Land Beneath Our Feet, a documentary on history, memory, and land rights in Liberia. His most recent book, Empire of Rubber: Firestone’s Scramble for Land and Power in Liberiawill be published by The New Press.

Public events will include a lecture, Viral Exchanges: Hotspots, Spillovers, and the Reordering of Life, a film screening of Land Beneath Our Feetand more. This residency is offered in partnership with the 2020-2021 UMass Amherst History Department Feinberg Series, Planet on a Precipice: Histories and Futures of the Environmental Emergency. It will take place on the Feinberg Series website, Facebook and YouTube. Spanish interpretation and closed captioning will be available. Free and open to all.