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Harding Lecture Features Storyteller and Cultural Geographer

Carolyn Finney portrait on a railing outside

Carolyn Finney (Photo provided by Nicholas Nichols)

Author, storyteller, and cultural geographer Carolyn Finney will deliver SUNY Geneseo’s annual Walter Harding Lecture on Thursday, October 28, at 6:15 p.m. in Doty Recital Hall.

The lecture is open to the public and free of charge. Masks are required on campus for indoor events.

Finney first pursued an acting career, but five years of backpacking through Africa and Asia and living in Nepal inspired her to return to school to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in gender and environmental issues in Kenya and Nepal. She also earned a PhD as a Fulbright scholar and a Canon National Science Scholar Fellow. Along with public speaking, writing, media engagements, consulting, and teaching, Finney served on the U.S. National Parks Advisory Board for eight years. Finney was recently awarded the Alexander and Ilse Melamid Medal from the American Geographical Society and is an artist-in-residence in the Franklin Environmental Center at Middlebury College in Vermont.

Finney is the author of Black Faces, White Spaces: Reimagining the Relationship of African Americans to the Great Outdoors and recently published several articles—“Self-Evident: On the visibility of Black bodies in environmental histories” (BESIDE, Spring 2020), and “The Perils of Being Black in Public: We are all Christian Cooper and George Floyd” (Guardian, 3 June 2020). She is a columnist at Earth Island Journal and is currently working on a performance piece about John Muir (The N Word: Nature Revisited) as part of an Andrew W. Mellon residency at the New York Botanical Gardens Humanities Institute.

The annual Walter Harding Lecture is sponsored by the SUNY Geneseo English department and honors the life and legacy of Distinguished Professor of English Walter Harding, a scholar of the works of Henry David Thoreau who helped found the Thoreau Society. The lecture is made possible through the generosity of the Harding family.


Kris Dreessen
Manager of Editorial Services
(585) 245-5516