2013 The Geography of Rivers: Morphology, Ecology, and Culture
2013 is the tenth year of CER Lunchtime Lectures, and, as I did last year with natural history, the 2013 lectures will all focus on one topic and unfold like a course. The 2013 Lunchtime Lectures will explore the geography of rivers. The metaphor of the “round river” which flows back into itself provides the structure of the lectures. We begin with the mythical, metaphorical river which runs so deeply in human culture and specifically in American culture. We next explore the physical geography and ecology of rivers as fluvial systems and terrestrial habitats. The last part of the year returns us to culture as we look at human impacts on American rivers which have transformed the landscapes of American rivers into cultural landscapes shaped both by humans and nature.
And so, join me for a river journey in 2013 as we explore the Geography of Rivers.
River Systems – May to August
Rivers write their way across the surface of the Earth, inscribing deeply or shallowly depending on how resistant the surface is to the flow of water and sediment carried by the river. This morphology of the physical geography of the Earth is the starting point for geography, but a geographer must go beyond the physical shapes and shaping of rivers in order to fully understand them. The living river begins with the geochemistry of flowing water which merges with the biochemistry of aquatic organisms and then further merges with the terrestrial ecology of organisms living along the river’s riparian and bottomland zones.