Megan Kate Nelson will discuss her book Ruin Nation. During the Civil War, cities, houses, forests, and soldiers’ bodies were transformed into “dead heaps of ruins,” novel sights in the southern landscape. How did this happen, and why? And what did Americans—northern and southern, black and white, male and female—make of this proliferation of ruins? Ruin Nation is the first book to bring together environmental and cultural histories to consider the evocative power of ruination as an imagined state, an act of destruction, and a process of change. (Publisher)
Megan Kate Nelson is a lecturer in History and Literature at Harvard University. She has a BA in History and Literature from Harvard (1994) and a PhD in American Studies from the University of Iowa (2002). She is also the author of Trembling Earth: A Cultural History of the Okefenokee Swamp (Georgia, 2005) and is a contributor to the New York Times Disunion Blog. She lives in Lincoln, Massachusetts.