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Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture

Professor and author David Haskell will discuss the sensory environment at the 2021-2022 Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture on April 7, 2022. 

Haskell is a professor of biology at Sewanee: The University of the South whose work integrates scientific, literary, and contemplative studies of the natural world. His forthcoming book, Sounds Wild and Broken (Penguin Random House, 2022), offers a lyrical exploration of the diverse sounds of our planet, the creative processes that produced these marvels, and the perils that sonic diversity now faces. We live on a planet alive with song, music, and speech, and Haskell explores how these wonders came to be.  

His book, The Songs of Trees: Stories from Nature’s Great Connectors (Viking, 2017), examines the many ways that trees and humans are connected. The book was winner of the 2018 John Burroughs Medal and the 2020 Iris Book Award, named one of the Best Science Books of 2017 by NPR’s Science Friday, selected as Favorite Science Books of 2017 by Brain Pickings, and in the 10 Best Environment, Climate Science and Conservation Books of 2017 at His scientific research on animal ecology, evolution, and conservation has been sponsored by the National Science Foundation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service, the World Wildlife Fund, among others. He serves on the boards and advisory committees of local and national land conservation groups. 

The Harry C. Howard Jr. Lecture Series was established in 1994 through the endowment of Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Nash Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. George D. Renfro, all of Asheville, North Carolina. The lecture honors Harry C. Howard Jr., who earned his bachelor’s degree Vanderbilt in 1951, and allows the Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities to bring an outstanding scholar to Vanderbilt annually to deliver a lecture on a significant topic in the humanities.  

Previous Harry C. Howard Jr. Lectures