Students to talk natures in first annual conference

Donal Davenport

February 10, 2009
By Darla Martin Tucker

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – ( ) The graduate students’ disparate research topics range from spiritual identities and ethnicity to Frankenstein and Disney’s animal kingdom. But they ultimately weave and flow together under one theme, “Natures: Authenticity, Artificiality and Authorship.” This is the title of La Sierra University’s first annual papers conference for graduate students in the humanities.

On Feb. 20, 24 graduate students from colleges and universities around Southern California and in Texas will present their papers during the conference organized by La Sierra’s English and Communication Department.

Sponsored by the department and La Sierra’s College of Arts and Sciences, the conference will feature graduate student presentations in four sessions and will include a plenary address, luncheon and keynote talk. The English and Communication Department plans to continue the event in coming years and already has plans in the works for a conference in 2010 titled “Creation, Reception and Explication.” That event will focus on the life of text from inception to dissection.

“We wanted to expose our graduate students to conference-level scholarship,” said Lora Geriguis, conference faculty sponsor and director of graduate studies for English and Communication. When students write research papers for conferences they take scholarship beyond the classroom and function as independent scholars, she said. This experience helps prepare students for submitting research articles to peer-reviewed journals.

La Sierra students will gain experience in conference planning and development by helping organize the Natures event, added Geriguis. “[The conference] also gives them the ability to network with other graduate students across the region,” she said.

‘Natures’ was chosen as the conference title to suggest two areas of interest: The nature or composition of humanities studies; and the interconnectedness between human nature and the natural world. The conference showcases work that examines the plethora of human creations and their impact on and engagement with the complexity of natural and constructed, physical and social environments.

Of the 24 students presenting papers, six are from La Sierra with the remainder from Claremont Graduate University, California State University, Fullerton, California Baptist University, the University of California, Riverside and Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas.

At 11 a.m., Catherine Gudis, associate professor of history at UC Riverside, will deliver a plenary address in Cossentine Hall 100 titled “Buyways: Billboards, Automobiles, and the American Landscape.” Gudis’s presentation will examine the way outdoor advertising evolved alongside the rise of the automobile, the impacting of the American landscape and producing the American consumer.

At 12:30 p.m., Jonathan Eacott, an assistant history professor at UC Riverside, will give a keynote luncheon talk titled “The Nature of Naturalization: Jungle Animals, Colonial Categories, and Academic Disciplines.” Eacott, a postdoctoral student, is currently editing his dissertation as a book. The dissertation topic covers 18th and 19th century American perceptions of India in regards to its animals and products. Eacott will discuss this subject alongside questions of the academic job search, its artificial and authentic components.

Following is a schedule of the day’s events. For additional information call 951-785-2241.


Time:                  Event:                                         Location:
7:30-8:00            Registration                                  Faculty Lounge
                          and Continental Breakfast              Cactus Room                                              
                          First Session
8:00-9:20            Nature without Borders (1A)          Cactus Room
                          Writing Nature (1B)                       AD 223

9:20-9:30            Break and Refreshments               Cactus Room

                           Second Session
9:30-10:50           Reel Nature (2A)                          Cactus Room
                           The Nature of Race (2B)                AD 223

11:00-12:15          Plenary Address                           Cossentine Hall 100

12:30-1:30            Lunch and Keynote Speaker          Cactus Room

                            Third Session
1:45-3:15              Postmodern Natures (3A)              Cactus Room
                            Wild Natures I (3B)                       AD 223

3:15-3:30              Break and Refreshments               Cactus Room

                             Fourth Session
3:30-5:00               Wild Natures II (4A)                    Cactus Room
                             Nature’s Destruction (4B)              AD 223



PR Contact: Larry Becker
Executive Director of University Relations
La Sierra University
Riverside, California
951.785.2460 (voice)

  • Last update on  December 07, 2009