Lauret Savoy, Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape


Lauret Savoy in the MatT Cole Reading room with the 1960’s scholars

The Center for Environmental Studies was honored to have Dr. Lauret Savoy author and David B. Truman Professor of Environmental Studies and Geology at Mount Holyoke College share her book with us. Her 2015 book, Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape describes the geological and cultural collisions that have shaped the American landscape. Much like the structure and inspiration for her book, she shared with us fragments of her childhood and challenged us to ask questions about our origins and to interact critically with our environment.

Trace won the 2016 American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation and the 2017 ASLE Creative Writing Award. It was also a finalist for the Phillis Wheatley Book Award and the 2016 PEN American Open Book Award. Trace was shortlisted for the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing and Orion Book Award.

Before her public reading and discussion, she met with the Center for Environmental Studies 1960’s scholars in the cozy Matt Cole room to engage students in discussions related to her book and also to simply talk. She was inspirational. During the public talk, Professor Savoy read the prologue and a few chapters from her book before inviting the audience in discussion and dialogue. Students, faculty, and community members shared the auditorium.

By Cristina Mancilla ’20