Montana State University

MSU College of Letters and Science to host Malone Conference Oct. 12-15

October 6, 2016 -- MSU News Services

MSU will host the 2016 Michael P. Malone Memorial Conference, “Wild Animals in the Wild West,” Wednesday, Oct. 12, to Saturday, Oct. 15. The Malone memorial conferences are held bi-annually in honor of Michael P. Malone, the 10th president of MSU and one of the state's preeminent historians, as well as a previous Department Chair of the History and Philosophy Department. Image courtesy of the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies.

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Tel: (406) 994-4571
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BOZEMAN – The Montana State University College of Letters and Science’s Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies will host the 2016 Michael P. Malone Memorial Conference, “Wild Animals in the Wild West,” Wednesday, Oct. 12, to Saturday, Oct. 15. Sessions on Oct. 14 and the evening of the 15th will be held on the MSU campus and are free and open to the public.

The Malone memorial conferences are held bi-annually in honor of Michael P. Malone, the 10th president of MSU and one of the state's preeminent historians, as well as a previous Department Chair of the History and Philosophy Department.

“The Michael P. Malone Memorial Conference “Wild Animals in the Wild West” brings together scholars from a wide range of disciplines to explore animal minds from the perspectives of sociology, psychology, history, film and beyond,” said Sara Waller, associate professor of philosophy at MSU, and conference organizer. “Perhaps the most comprehensive conference on animal thought and the human relationship to non-human animals west of the Mississippi, this gathering of internationally-recognized scholars will explore wild, new ideas.”

The conference will focus on topics related to animals, animal minds and the relationship of other animals to humans and wilderness as the concepts have been understood by philosophers, historians, cultural theorists, scientists and literary minds. Specific topics addressed will include new research in environmental conservation, recent studies of animal minds and the ongoing development of methods for peaceful rancher-predator interaction.

Individual sessions will include scholarly presentations, films, an undergraduate poster session, graduate speed talks and keynote lectures.

Friday’s presentations, which are open to the public, will include several presentations by MSU faculty and guest speakers, an undergraduate poster session, a keynote lecture by Arik Kershenbaum, a zoologist from the University of Cambridge and a film by MSU film professor Cindy Stillwell.

Saturday’s evening event will conclude the conference, with keynote lectures in the Hager Auditorium at the Museum of the Rockies by keynote speakers Robert Lurz and Peter Godfrey-Smith, both philosophers from the City University of New York. These lectures are also free and open to the public, but attendees must make reservations as seating is limited.

Those wishing to attend Friday’s events or the Saturday evening lectures may find more information on the conference webpage: http://www.montana.edu/history/malone.html.

“Animal studies is an emerging, but rapidly developing research area,” Waller said. “Scholars from a variety of disciplines are becoming increasingly interested in better understanding human relations with nonhuman nature, partly as a way of challenging anthropocentric behaviors that can have limiting and sometimes even negative consequences for ecosystems.”


Animal studies, in particular, opens up ways of thinking about cognition, or the process of making knowledge, that have been previously under-examined and under-appreciated by researchers, Waller explained. “Knowing the processes by which animals create language, communicate and think, for example, could change the way humans interact with nonhuman animals and their environments forever,” she said.

The conference is sponsored by the MSU College of Letters and Science, Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, the Office of the Provost, the Office of the Vice President of Research and Economic Development, the Associated Students of Montana State University, the Humanities Institute, the Western Lands and Peoples Initiative, the Michael P. Malone Memorial Fund and Humanities Montana.

Tickets are free, but are required for entry to certain conference events.

For more information and a schedule of public events, see http://www.montana.edu/history/malone.html or contact Katie Yaw at (406) 994-4395 or history@montana.edu.

Other information can be found here:

http://calendar.msu.montana.edu/events/20764; http://calendar.msu.montana.edu/events/20766; http://calendar.msu.montana.edu/events/20767; http://calendar.msu.montana.edu/events/20769.

Contact: Katie Yaw, Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, (406) 994-4395 or history@montana.edu