April 30, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Philosopher and ecologist David Abram will speak about "Becoming Animal: Language and the Ecology of Sensory Experience" on Wednesday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. in Stirn Auditorium at Amherst College. A reception and book signing will take place from 3:30 until 5:30 p.m. at the Hitchcock Center for the Environment at 525 South Pleasant Street in Amherst.

A philosopher and cultural ecologist, Abram is the author of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World (1996), for which he received the Lannan Literary Award for Non-Fiction.

The Washington Post wrote, "In a rat-race scramble filled with laptops, cell phones, beepers and web sites, Abram adds his voice to those of other observers who lament humanity's fading relationship with 'the breathing earth.' Drawing on such diverse sources as the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Balinese shamanism and Apache storytelling, Abram argues that men and women can only be fully human by maintaining contact with what is not human." The Los Angeles Times said, "This book ponders the violent disconnection of the body from the natural world and what this means about how we live and die in it."

Abram's talk is sponsored by Amherst College through the Transdisciplinary Fund and the Pick Readership in Environmental Studies; Five Colleges, Inc.; the Hitchcock Center for the Environment; the natural sciences program at Hampshire College; the departments of earth and environment and English, and the dean of the college at Mt. Holyoke College; the landscape studies program at Smith College; and the department of history at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.