Exploring the San Juan & Green Rivers!

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Exploring the San Juan & Green Rivers!

June 22 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am

“My lecture will introduce the audience to the history of two remarkable Colorado plateau rivers, the San Juan and the Green river through Desolation Canyon. i will show how various peoples, beginning with the Clovis peoples, over 10,000 years ago, made a living along the banks of these two canyon rivers.”

James M. Aton was born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1949 and was educated there in Catholic schools. He received a BA in English from Spring Hill College in Mobile, AL, in 1971; an MA in English from the University of Kentucky in 1977; and a PhD in American Literature from Ohio University in 1981. He has taught in the Department of English at SUU since 1980, where he is Professor of English. He teaches classes in Writing, Mythology, American Studies, and Continental European Literature.

Aton has twice been a Visiting Fulbright Scholar in American Studies, first in 1989-90 at Gadjah Mada University in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, and second in 1997-98 at Sichuan University in Chengdu, People’s Republic of China.

Aton has published articles on environmental history in The Georgia Review, Utah Historical Quarterly, Western American Literature, South Dakota Review, and Southwest Art. He has presented the SUU Distinguished Faculty Lecture four times, most recently in January 2019. His monograph, John Wesley Powell, appeared as part of the Boise State University’s Western Writers Series. His book with Robert S. McPherson, River Flowing from the Sunrise: An Environmental History of the Lower San Juan, was a finalist for the 2000 Utah Book Award in nonfiction and was awarded the 2000 Norris and Carol Hundley Award for “best book on any historical subject” from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association. The River Knows Everything: Desolation Canyon and the Green, with photographer Dan Miller, appeared in May 2009; it was a finalist for the 2009 Utah Book Award in nonfiction. In January 2010 the University of Utah Press published John Wesley Powell: His Life and Legacy. He has produced two films, Jimmie Jones: Redrock Painter (with Jon M. Smith) and Voices of Desolation Canyon (with Jennifer Little). He has received two N E H Summer Seminar Grants. His book, Jim Jones: The San Blas Years, was published by SUU Press in 2013. His biography, The Art and Life of Jimmie Jones: Landscape Artist of the Canyon Country, appeared in fall 2015 from Gibbs Smith Books. It has won two awards: “The 2015 Evans Handcart Award” for biography and “The 2016 15 Bytes Book Award for Art.” Aton’s most recent book with Jerry D. Spangler, The Crimson Cowboys: The Remarkable Odyssey of the 1931 Claflin-Emerson Expedition (University of Utah Press 2018), won the Don D. and Catherine S. Fowler Prize for best book on anthropology.

Aton is married to Carrie L. Trenholm, a fused glass artist and formerly the Beverly Taylor Sorensen Endowed Chair of Art Education at SUU. He is the father of Jennifer Aton Parietti, a registered dietitian at Seattle Children’s Hospital. She lives in Seattle with her husband Ryan and son Jack. Aton is an avid river runner, skier, hiker, and backpacker.

Reservations Suggested: https://form.jotform.com/83616651560963 or 435.879.2254


June 22
10:00 am - 11:00 am


Silver Reef Museum

Sponsored In Part By

National Endowment for the Arts

Where history resonates and creativity soars.