Greg Woodburn "Necessary of Life: Henry David Thoreau and America's Problematic Progress, 1837-1862"
Henry David Thoreau's paradoxical relationship with nature and industrialization in the United States from 1837 to 1862
Why and How I Came to this Topic:
I started with an interest in temporality and professor Halttunen suggested that delving in Thoreau could be a good fit for me. Professor Halttunen's understanding of my interests – as well as the fact that she has been researching Thoreau herself – convinced me to take this leap of faith and figuratively live with Thoreau last summer and this semester. I have enjoyed honing in the questions I am asking, and am glad I jumped into this topic.
I am using Thoreau's journals, published books, and his essays on topics concerning nature and industry. One such source is Thoreau's essay “Wild Apples,” in which he laments the replacement of sour, wild apples by sweet, cultivated apples across New England. To complement Thoreau's writing, I am also drawing on newspaper articles and images to place Thoreau's opinions in the broader context of the public opinion, such as the 1840 Morning Herald article “Progress of Civilization.”
Travel and Funding I Have Done/Received:
While not directly related to my thesis, this summer I received a research grant to explore my family history in Ireland before I attended Cambridge University as part of the USC Cambridge Summer Programme.