2023 Integrative Studies Lecture: Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer

Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer named a 2022 MacArthur Fellow.

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Listening in wild places, we are audience to conversations in a language not our own. I think now that it was a longing to comprehend this language I hear in the woods that led me to science, to learn over the years to speak fluent botany. A tongue that should not, by the way, be mistaken for the language of plants. I did learn another language in science, though, one of careful observation, an intimate vocabulary that names each little part. To name and describe you must first see, and science polishes the gift of seeing…. But beneath the richness of its vocabulary and its descriptive power, something is missing, the same something that swells around you and in you when you listen to the world. Science can be a language of distance which reduces a being to its working parts; it is a language of objects. The language scientists speak, however precise, is based on a profound error in grammar, an omission, a grave loss in translation from the native languages of these shores.” —“The Grammar of Animacy,” Braiding Sweetgrass, pp. 48-49.

2023 Integrative Studies Lecture Speaker: Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer

Otterbein’s Frank Museum of Art & Galleries, in collaboration with the Humanities Advisory Committee and the Integrative Studies Program, welcome Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, author of the acclaimed bestseller Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge, and the Teachings of Plants.

Public Talk: The Grammar of Animacy
Wednesday, March 29, 2023
5p – 6:45p
Riley Auditorium, Battelle Fine Arts Center, 170 W. Park Street, Westerville, OH
For more about Robin Wall Kimmerer, related resources, and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), visit here

RSVP here for this free public event. Seating is not ticketed, but your RSVP will help us to plan for the reception, live stream overflow seating, and the book signing. Recording of Dr. Kimmerer’s public lecture available through April 13 HERE. 

  • Doors to Riley Auditorium open at 4:30p. A reminder that Riley is in an academic building, and classes will be ongoing throughout the day; please be aware of the teaching and learning in this space, prior to and concurrent with the event. 
  • Overflow seating: Primary overflow seating will be available at The POINT (Room 140) and Towers Hall (Room 112). Other overflow locations will be made available as needed. To view a campus map, click HERE.
  • Parking: There is no charge for parking at Otterbein University. Significant parking is available adjacent to The Point (60 Collegeview Road). Other parking lots are located next to Cowan Hall, across from the Battelle Fine Arts Center on Park St., behind Roush Hall, and at the Campus Center on Home St. To view a campus map, click HERE.

Dr. Kimmerer’s lecture will be followed by a conversation between Dr. Kimmerer and interdisciplinary artists Cadine Navarro and Brian Harnetty, whose 2021-22 Otterbein exhibitions, It Sounds Like Love and Common Ground: Listening to Appalachian Ohio, involved deep listening to the natural world and, in some cases, have been informed by themes in Braiding Sweetgrass. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Janice Glowski, curator of the exhibitions and Director of The Frank Museum of Art &  Galleries at Otterbein.

A RECEPTION and BOOK SIGNING (co-sponsored by Birdie Books) will follow the evening’s presentation.
7p – 8:30p in Fisher Gallery, Roush Hall, 37 S. Grove Street.  Pre-orders of Braiding Sweetgrass (2013) and Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses (2003) through Birdie Books are encouraged. Some copies will be available for purchase on site.


Cadine NavarroCadine Navarro
Harnetty CircleBrian Harnetty

 Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer is a mother, scientist, decorated professor, and enrolled member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. In addition to Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants, which has earned her wide acclaim, her first book, Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses, was awarded the John Burroughs Medal for outstanding nature writing, and her other work has appeared in Orion, Whole Terrain, and numerous scientific journals. She tours widely and has been featured on NPR’s On Being with Krista Tippett and in 2015 addressed the general assembly of the United Nations on the topic of “Healing Our Relationship with Nature.” Kimmerer lives in Syracuse, New York, where she is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor of Environmental Biology, and the founder and director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, whose mission is to create programs which draw on the wisdom of both indigenous and scientific knowledge for our shared goals of sustainability.

As a writer and a scientist, her interests in restoration include not only restoration of ecological communities, but restoration of our relationships to land. She holds a BS in Botany from SUNY ESF, an MS and PhD in Botany from the University of Wisconsin and is the author of numerous scientific papers on plant ecology, bryophyte ecology, traditional knowledge and restoration ecology. She lives on an old farm in upstate New York, tending gardens both cultivated and wild.

Integrative Studies, the Humanities, and Museums & Galleries at Otterbein

Otterbein’s Frank Museum of Art and Galleries promote creative, scholarly, and educational inquiry through the intentional curation art exhibitions and related programming that interface across the University’s curriculum, particularly the Integrative Studies Program, and into the broader community. Our unique exhibition system includes The Frank Museum of Art and the Miller, Fisher, and Stichweh Galleries, which are distributed across campus and into the City of Westerville. The University hosts over seven exhibitions annually that feature work by regional and international artists. This active arts environment, our contemporary art collection, and The Frank Museum’s permanent collection of global art support student internships and training in curation, collection preservation and management, art handling, marketing and design, and other museum-related work. The Otterbein & the Arts: Opening Doors to the World (ODW) global arts programming, which addresses some of the most important issues of our times, includes an exhibition catalog print series that is published through The Frank Museum of Art.

The Humanities Advisory Committee (HAC) is comprised of Humanities faculty from Otterbein’s Humanities disciplines: English, History, Religion & Philosophy, Spanish and Latin American Studies, and the History, Theory, and Criticism of the Arts (Art, Music, and Theater). HAC works to promote and support the Humanities at Otterbein by supporting faculty and student scholarship and courses. This includes hosting visiting speakers, funding course enrichment opportunities such as fieldtrips, and producing the student-run Humanities journal, Aegis. HAC oversees the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant awarded to Otterbein University in 1984 – one of only thirteen universities nationwide to receive this award. This endowment funds the aforementioned activities on campus and supports faculty research and professional development through project grants and conference travel awards. In Spring 2023, HAC is co-chaired by Dr. Alex Rocklin (Philosophy & Religion) and Dr. Janice Glowski (Art & Art History). 

The Integrative Studies (INST) Program has been a major component of general education at Otterbein for several decades; INST courses facilitate interdisciplinary conversations and co-curricular connections throughout a student’s undergraduate career, and the program is coordinated through the INST Advisory Committee. The INST Advisory Committee consists of faculty members across campus, as well as representatives of the Student Success and Career Development Office, Courtright Memorial Library, and the Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT) Campus Center.

All three of these campus organizations have coordinated their support of this interdisciplinary lecture in Spring 2023. For further information, please contact Dr. Janice Glowski, Director of Otterbein’s Museum and Galleries (jglowski@otterbein.edu) or Dr. Carrigan Hayes, Director of the Integrative Studies Program (chayes@otterbein.edu).

Towers Hall Behind Spring Leaves