At Home in the Woods: The Surprising History of Race and Wilderness in New York's Adirondack Mountains with Daegan Miller

April 23, 2024, 5:30–7:00 PM

In this Research and Academic Program lecture, Daegan Miller examines the complex history of race and the idealized image of the wilderness of the nineteenth-century Adirondacks. The wilderness often conjures images of vast, untouched-by-human expanses of forest––an idealized image of how nature should be. Yet humans have always lived in the woods, and this idealized image of nature erases its complex history. This talk returns to the nineteenth-century Adirondacks where Black settlers established an anti-racist, socialist community in the years before the Civil War and to works by Thomas Cole. Miller argues that the era establishes a nuanced, social vision of the wilderness that helps us rethink our twentieth-century place in the world. 

Presented in person in the Clark auditorium. 

Image: Thomas Cole, detail of Home in the Woods, 1847, oil on canvas. Reynolda House Museum of American Art.