From its early days when embarrassed “plank hoppers” would take to mountainsides under the cover of darkness to avoid the cackles of their leering townsfolk to present times when it anchors a multibillion-dollar winter tourism industry, skiing has transformed economies and reshaped landscapes from the towering peaks of Europe to the ones right here in our home state of Maine.
An online lecture presented by the University of New England Center for Global Humanities will explore how downhill skiing appeals to our fascination with the natural world as well as to our lust for modern thrills when Andrew Denning presents “Alpine Skiing, Nature, and Modernity” on Monday, Feb. 22 at 6 p.m. The lecture will be streamed live to the Center’s Maine, national, and global communities.
Denning will examine the evolving relationship between skiers and nature since the late nineteenth century, focusing primarily on the European Alps. He will also discuss the contemporary status of skiing and its continued viability in the face of climate change, which is shortening ski seasons and sending skiers to higher and higher altitudes in pursuit of ideal slope conditions.
Denning is associate professor of modern European history at the University of Kansas, where he studies mobility, infrastructure, and the environment in twentieth-century Western Europe. His book, Skiing into Modernity: A Cultural and Environmental History was published by the University of California Press in 2015, and he has published articles in American Historical Review, Central European History, Environmental History, Technology & Culture, and The Atlantic. He is currently composing a book-length manuscript on the history of roads and motorization in European empires in Africa, tentatively titled Automotive Empire: Roads, Mobility, and the Making of Colonial Africa, 1900-1945.
This will be the second lecture of the Spring 2021 semester at the Center for Global Humanities. For more information and to watch the event, please visit: