Virtual Lightbulb Café: Elderflora by Jared Farmer
Would you like to be in a book group with fellow alums from around the world, reading works by Penn Arts & Sciences faculty? Hit the books and get ready to join us for the Penn Arts & Sciences Virtual Lightbulb Café: Faculty Book Series! Our fabulous faculty authors will discuss their new books, describing the inspiration and research behind each, and answer audience questions.
Humans have always revered long-lived trees. But as Jared Farmer reveals in Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees, our veneration took a turn in the 18th century, when naturalists embarked on a quest to locate and precisely date the oldest living things on earth. The new science of tree time led to protection and veneration of some trees, while old-growth forests were succumbing to imperial expansion and the industrial revolution. Farmer takes us from Lebanon to New Zealand to California, and shows that a long future is still possible. Publishers Weekly gave Elderflora a starred review, saying, “Farmer masterfully blends science, religion, and history, making for a beautiful and moving portrait of nature over time.” The book received the Jacques Barzun Prize from the American Philosophical Society.
Karen M'Closkey, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture, Weitzman School of Design
About the Author
Jared Farmer, Walter H. Annenberg Professor of History, studies the histories of built and unbuilt environments from the hyperlocal to the planetary. He has received fellowships and grants from institutions such as the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Farmer’s essays have appeared in The New York Times, Smithsonian, and on the BBC. His book On Zion’s Mount: Mormons, Indians, and the American Landscape won the Francis Parkman Prize from the Society of American Historians.
To read an excerpt from Elderflora: A Modern History of Ancient Trees, click here.
The Virtual Homecoming Lightbulb Café - Faculty Book Edition is generously funded by the Adolf and Felicia Leon Fund, which supports Penn Arts & Sciences programming and lecture series.