We’re thrilled to present two remarkable keynote speakers.

matthew-klingle-bowdoin-college-resized1Prof. Matthew Klingle will deliver the opening keynote, entitled “Solvent Stories: Water and Power in North American History.” Klingle is associate professor of history and environmental studies, and director of the environmental studies program, at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine. A historian of North America, his research and teaching focus on nineteenth and twentieth-century US history, environmental history, the North American West, urban history and the history of science, technology, and medicine. He is the author of Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle (Yale University Press, 2007), which received the biennial 2009 Ray Allen Billington Prize from the Organization of American Historians.

Klingle’s current research projects include “Rivers Lost and Found,” a collaborative project with Bowdoin colleague, Michael Kolster (Visual Arts), exploring the changing nature of key industrial rivers along the Atlantic seaboard as they recover from decades of neglect. A native Westerner, born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Klingle received his B.A. in history from the University of California at Berkeley and his Ph.D. in history from the University of Washington in Seattle. He lives with his wife and fellow historian, Connie Y. Chiang, and their two children in Brunswick, Maine.


SONY DSCDr. Nenette Luarca-Shoaf will deliver the closing keynote. Luarca-Shoaf is Associate Curator of Adult Learning and Interpretation at the Art Institute of Chicago. She is a historian of American art and was guest curator for the exhibition, “Navigating the West: George Caleb Bingham and the River,” which originated at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art before traveling to the St. Louis Art Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She also co-edited the summer 2016 issue of the online journal Open Rivers, which focused on water, art, and ecology.

Luarca-Shoaf’s research explores the nineteenth-century Mississippi River in visual culture, using paintings, panoramas, maps, and prints to understand how images shaped Americans’ ideas about the river, then and now. She received her B.A. in art history the University of Southern California, her M.A. in humanities from the University of Chicago, and her Ph.D. in art history from the University of Delaware. She was a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Minnesota before joining the Art Institute of Chicago.


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