Join us for a colloquium on proto-environmentalism in Victorian England 

The Victorian polymath John Ruskin (1819-1900) was among the earliest to recognize the threat posed by industrial and anthropogenic pollutants to the natural world. On the bicentenary of Ruskin’s birth, Houghton Library hosts an interdisciplinary colloquium focusing on his prophetic concern for the environment and its continued relevance today.


  • James Engell, Gurney Professor of English and Professor of Comparative Literature, Harvard University, and co-editor of Environment: An Interdisciplinary Anthology (2008, ed. with Adelson, Ranalli, and Van Anglen).


  • "Ruskin's Lost Lake," Harriet Ritvo, Arthur J. Conner Professor of History, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of The Dawn of Green: Manchester, Thirlmere, and Modern Environmentalism (Chicago UP, 2009).
  • "UNLESS: a public artwork, handmade, by many," Stephanie Cardon, artist, Assistant Professor in Studio Foundation and Sustainability Fellow, Massachusetts College of Art and Design 
  • “Ruskin and Color: An Ecocritical Approach", Sezen Unluonen, doctoral candidate, Department of English, Harvard University, and author of the Turkish novel, Kıymetli Şeylerin Tanzimi (The Arrangement of Worthy Things).

This colloquium is in conjunction with the exhibition Victorian Visionary: John Ruskin and the Realization of the Ideal (on view through April 13).

  • Environmental Science and Public Policy
  • Visual and Environmental Studies