The 83rd Annual Gathering of the Thoreau Society
July 10-14, 2024
Thoreau and Resilience
In spite of a lifetime riven by illness and environmental change during an era marred by racial oppression and political turmoil, Thoreau once wrote, “Surely joy is the condition of life.” Even in his darkest hours, Thoreau found resilience. He turned from the depths of mourning to the healing rhythms of the natural world, from the desperation of capitalism to the simple labor of the bean-field and the beauty of Walden’s shore, and from the cynical, brutal politics of the day to the wonder of children and the work of justice.
This year, the Annual Gathering will examine Thoreau and resilience writ large—nature’s resilience, Thoreau’s pursuit of cultural and political resilience, the resilient individual who was Thoreau, and the resilience of Thoreau’s legacy in our own times.
We invite proposals for presentations that consider Thoreau and resilience in terms of:
• the ecological (presentations might consider Thoreau and biodiversity, sustainability, climate change, agriculture, water, etc.);
• the cultural/political (presentations might consider reform/activist efforts, resistance, social justice, race, disability, adaptability, etc.);
• the personal/spiritual (presentations might consider health and illness, psychology, spirituality, family, community, self-reliance, etc.); and
• the legacy (presentations might consider the resilience of Thoreau’s legacy in our own times).
The Thoreau Society has been celebrating its Annual Gathering since its founding in 1941. Thoreau Society members and enthusiasts from around the world gather in Concord each year around the time of Thoreau’s birthday, July 12. Our Keynote speakers have featured a diverse group of individuals, all inspired by Thoreau in some way, such as Joyce Carol Oates, Arun Gandhi, and Edward O. Wilson. Milestones marked by Annual Gatherings include the discovery of the Walden cabin by Roland Robbins in 1944, the first open house of the Thoreau Institute in 1998, and the celebration of the 200th Anniversary of Thoreau’s birth in 2017.