Nelson Series: Writer Amitav Ghosh

March 20, 2023 Add to Calendar

5:45–7 p.m.


Shanahan Center, Auditorium
320 E. Foothill Blvd.
Claremont, CA 91711


“The Nutmeg’s Curse: Non-human Voices and More-than-human Stories”

Are humans the only beings that are endowed with the ability to communicate and make meaning? For a long time, it was assumed that this was axiomatically true. But one effect of our increasingly climate-disrupted world is that it has made us aware that our minds and bodies are deeply intertwined with many other organisms, entities and forces. This lecture examines some of these entanglements through the story of the nutmeg tree. There will be time at the end for questions from the audience.

Award-winning writer of historical fiction, including Nutmeg’s Curse, Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He is the author of two books of non-fiction, including The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable (2016), a collection of essays, and ten novels, including Circle of Reason (1986), The Glass Palace (2000), his Ibis trilogy of novels, and Gun Island (2019). For his groundbreaking writing, he has received the Prix Médicis étranger, the Sahitya Akademi Award, and the Arthur C. Clarke award to name just a few of many, and holds four honorary doctorates. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, and he has served on the Jury of the Locarno and Venice film festivals. In 2018 he became the first English-language writer to receive India’s highest literary honor, the Jnanpith Award. His most recent publication is Jungle Nama (2021), an adaptation of a legend from the Sundarban, with artwork by Salman Toor.

Dr. Bruce J. Nelson ’74 Distinguished Speaker Series

The 2022–2023 Nelson series, “Climate Storytellers,” will explore the power of storytelling to promote conversations about climate change and to inspire climate action. We know that the impacts of climate change are already bringing great harm to the most vulnerable in our societies. We are all beginning to experience the effects of a warming planet in heat waves, fires, droughts, and extreme weather events. We know that the scientific consensus is clear: emissions from industrial activity are to blame. And yet political action to reduce emissions and to prepare for our future feels frustratingly slow. Publishing increasingly comprehensive scientific reports isn’t working. Neither is language and imagery designed to induce fear and panic.

The speakers in this series are doing something different. Drawing on a range of experiences and expertise in the sciences, arts and the humanities, each of our speakers will share how they use storytelling as a powerful tool of climate communication. We will learn how different kinds of stories can reach different audiences, with the goal of inspiring climate justice and climate action.