Evening Talk and Screening: Forgotten Paths of Empire: Firestone and the Promise of Liberia
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science
About the Author
Gregg Mitman is the Vilas Research and William Coleman Professor of History of Science, Medical History, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is an award-winning author, filmmaker, and teacher, whose interests span the history of science, medicine, and the environment in the United States and the world, and reflect a commitment to environmental and social justice.
His recent works include Documenting the World: Film, Photography, and the Scientific Record (University of Chicago Press, 2016), Breathing Space: How Allergies Shape our Lives and Landscapes (Yale University Press, 2007), and Reel Nature: America’s Romance with Wildlife on Film, rev. ed. (University of Washington Press, 2009). Mitman is the founding director of the Nelson Institute’s Center for Culture, History and Environment, and is also past president of the American Society for Environmental History.
During the last decade, Mitman has increasingly focused on public humanities projects. In 2007, he created the Tales from Planet Earth film festival that has brought together artists, academics, and the public to explore and further the power of storytelling through film as a force of environmental and social change. Under his leadership, CHE, in collaboration with Munich’s Rachel Carson Center and Stockholm’s KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, hosted a 2014 experimental performance, The Anthropocene Slam: A Cabinet of Curiosities. The project was duplicated in Australia and Switzerland and a book is forthcoming with the University of Chicago Press.
Mitman’s current work is a multimedia project—a film, book, and public history website—exploring the history and legacy of the Firestone Plantations Company in Liberia. He recently co-produced and co-directed with Sarita Siegel, In the Shadow of Ebola, an intimate portrait of the Ebola outbreak in Liberia, and The Land Beneath Our Feet, a documentary on history, memory, and land rights in Liberia.
The Land Beneath Our Feet weaves together rare archival footage from a 1926 Harvard expedition to Liberia with the journey of a young Liberian man, uprooted by war, seeking to understand how the past has shaped land conflicts in his country today. This film is an explosive reminder of how large-scale land grabs are transforming livelihoods across the planet. A film trailer ist available.
Read more on Gregg Mitman's profile here.