The Future of American Coasts

October 15, 2012 // 4:00pm5:30pm

America began as a coastal country, and, after a century of identifying with its heartland, is now returning to the sea demographically, economically, and culturally. Today, more of us live on coasts, but few know how to live with them in a sustainable manner. Coastal futures depend on the recovery of the oldest form of intelligent human life, homo littoralis. In this talk John Gillis will explore the ways humans have shaped shores and how shores have shaped humanity.

John Gillis, Professor Emeritus at Rutgers University, now divides his time between two coasts, the Bay Area and the Gulf of Maine. He is the author of Islands of the Mind (2004) and The Human Shore: Seacoasts in History, to be published by the University Chicago Press in November. Before turning to global environmental history he worked in German and British history, focusing on age relations, marriage, family cultures, and memory.  With James M. Banner, Jr., he edited Becoming Historians (2009).

Reservations requested because of limited seating: or 202-691-4166


6th Floor, Woodrow Wilson Center
Event Speakers List: 
  • Professor Emeritus, Rutgers University
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