Skip navigation

Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (AHSS)

news

NEWS & EVENTS

 

Publications and thoughtful commentary showcase the incredible work that comes out of our small liberal arts classrooms, studios and labs.

News & Events

Distinguished Speaker Series

ANNUAL PRESENTATION BY A LEADER IN THE FIELD OF LIBERAL ARTS

The annual AHSS Distinguished Speaker Series brings to Denver a leader from a liberal arts field.

Wade Davis, National Geographic Society, 2013/2014 Distinguished Speaker


THIS YEAR'S DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER SERIES IS SOLD OUT.

If you would like to hear the lecture, please register here to  attend the reception and watch Wade Davis' lecture on a live streaming video in Lindsay Auditorium in Sturm Hall.

Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest
presented by Wade Davis

Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Reception 5:30 p.m.
Lecture 7:00 p.m
.

Free. Light refreshments provided.
University of Denver
Davis Auditorium (Room 248), Sturm Hall
LIVE VIDEO STREAM: Lindsay Auditorium, Sturm Hall
2000 E. Asbury Avenue
Denver, CO 80208

Register here!

This lecture is made possible, in part, by the Heber Harper Humanities Distinguished Lectureship Endowment.

Wade DavisIf the quest for Mount Everest began as a grand imperial gesture, as redemption for an empire of explorers that had lost the race to the Poles, it ended as a mission of regeneration for a country and a people bled white by war. Of the twenty-six British climbers who, on three expeditions (1921-24), walked 400 miles off the map to find and assault the highest mountain on Earth, twenty had seen the worst of the fighting. Six had been severely wounded, two others nearly killed by disease at the Front, one hospitalized twice with shell shock. Four as army surgeons dealt for the duration with the agonies of the dying. Two lost brothers, killed in action. All had endured the slaughter, the coughing of the guns, the bones and barbed wire, the white faces of the dead.

In a monumental work of history and adventure, ten years in the writing, Wade Davis asks not whether George Mallory was the first to reach the summit of Everest, but rather why he kept on climbing on that fateful day. His answer lies in a single phrase uttered by one of the survivors as they retreated from the mountain: 'The price of life is death.' Mallory walked on because for him, as for all of his generation, death was but 'a frail barrier that men crossed, smiling and gallant, every day.' As climbers they accepted a degree of risk unimaginable before the war. They were not cavalier, but death was no stranger. They had seen so much of it that it had no hold on them. What mattered was how one lived, the moments of being alive. For all of them Everest had become an exalted radiance, a sentinel in the sky, a symbol of hope in a world gone mad.

Biography


Wade Davis is an Explorer-in-Residence at National Geographic Society. Named by the NGS as one of the Explorers for the Millennium, he has been described as "a rare combination of scientist, scholar, poet and passionate defender of all of life's diversity." Davis's work as an anthropologist and botanical explorer has taken him throughout the world from the forests of the Amazon to the mountains of Tibet, from the high Arctic to the deserts of Africa, from Polynesia to the grasslands of Mongolia. Widely recognized as one of the most compelling storytellers of our times, his presentations, illustrated by his exquisite photographs, are a wild and moving celebration of the wonder of the human spirit, as expressed by the myriad of cultures he has encountered in a lifetime of travel, exploration and ethnographic research.

Davis is the author of 17 bestselling books including The Serpent and the Rainbow, which was later released as a feature film, and Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory and the Conquest of Everest, which won the 2012 Samuel Johnson Prize, the top literary award for nonfiction in the English language. Davis has written for National Geographic, Newsweek, Outside, Harpers, Fortune, Condé Nast Traveler, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Globe and Mail, and many other international publications.

His many film credits include Light at the Edge of the World, an eight-hour documentary series produced and written for the National Geographic, Grand Canyon Adventure (IMAX 3D), and Earthguide, a 13-part series on the environment produced and written for Discovery. As a photographer Davis has curated several major exhibits including The Lost Amazon, Museum of Natural History Smithsonian, and No Strangers: Ancient Wisdom in a Modern World, Annenberg Space for Photography. His own work has been widely published and exhibited.

A professional speaker for 25 years, Davis has lectured at more than 200 universities and captivated corporate clients such as Microsoft, Shell, Fidelity, Bayer, Bristol-Myers, Hallmark, Bank of Nova Scotia, MacKenzie Financials, and many others. His four TED talks have been seen by millions of viewers. In 2009 he delivered the Massey Lectures, Canada's most prestigious public intellectual forum.

Davis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Gold Medal of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society; the Explorer's Medal (the highest award of the Explorer's Club); The Lowell Thomas Medal; the David Fairchild Medal for Plant Exploration (the most prestigious award for botanical exploration) and the $125,000 Lannan Foundation Prize for Nonfiction.

This lecture is made possible, in part, by the Heber Harper Humanities Distinguished Lectureship Endowment.

Past Distinguished Speakers:

  • David Sanger, 2012
  • Julia Alvarez, 2011