Westminster Professor Combines Love of Mountaineering and the Environment in Latest Book, "Contact"
SALT LAKE CITY – Dr. Jeffrey McCarthy, Chair of Environmental Studies and Associate Professor of English at Westminster College, captures a spectrum of human attitudes toward mountains and the environment in his latest book, Contact: Mountain Climbing and Environmental Thinking.
Mountain climbing is a relatively new sport in human history. Until the eighteenth century, mountains were considered inhospitable, even evil. Since then, most of the world’s peaks have been climbed, and from each climber, each climb, come fresh appraisals of the connection between humans and nature.
The 23 climbing narratives collected and contextualized in Contact illuminate the spectrum of human attitudes toward mountains and the natural world, and the growing symbiosis between climbing and environmental awareness. The collected narratives are a mix of original works and classic texts. Some of these stories tell of climbers thrilling to the conquest of a previously unclimbed peak or of their own physical and psychological limitations. Others meditate on the craft of climbing; the wonder of becoming, for a time, part of a place that onlookers can only observe; or the astonishing impact of global warming on hitherto frozen environments.
Jeff McCarthy has climbed rock, ice and snow for 20 years, with first ascents in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest, and expeditions to Africa and Asia. He was educated at Wesleyan, Edinburgh and Oregon, and has been a Fulbright Fellow to Canada, with other research fellowships at the Oregon Humanities Center, the Calgary Institute for the Humanities, and the National Humanities Center.
Westminster is a nationally recognized, comprehensive liberal arts college. With a broad array of graduate and undergraduate programs, Westminster is distinguished by its unique environment for learning. Westminster prepares students for success through active and engaged learning, real world experiences and its vibrant campus community. Westminster’s unique location, adjacent to the Rocky Mountains and to the dynamic city of Salt Lake, further enriches the college experience. For more information visit www.westminstercollege.edu.