Audubon's Birds and American Science

Gregory Nobles, author of the forthcoming John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman (University of Pennsylvania Press, Spring 2017) will speak on “The Origins of Citizen Science in the U.S.: John James Audubon and Natural History From the Bottom Up" on Tuesday, February 21 at 6 p.m.

Audubon’s Birds of America remains an unparalleled achievement in American art. It immediately sealed his reputation as one of the most adulated artists of his time and his status as the first celebrity scientist in the U.S. Nobles’ fresh approach explores Audubon as self-made man incessantly striving to secure his place in American society. A skilled painter, a successful entrepreneur, and a prolific writer, Audubon sought status with the “gentlemen of science” on both sides of the Atlantic, but he also embraced the ornithology of ordinary people. In pursuit of popular acclaim in art and science, Audubon crafted an expressive, audacious, and decidedly masculine identity as the “American Woodsman,” a larger-than-life symbol of the new nation, a role he perfected in his quest for transatlantic fame. Audubon didn’t just live his life; he performed it.

Nobles is an OAH Distinguished Lecturer and Professor of History Emeritus at Georgia Instiute of Technology.  An avid birdwatcher, he is the author of multiple books and articles on the American Revolution and the early national frontier. His talk, which is sponsored by the OU History Department, Honors College, History of Science Department, and Biological Survey,  will be held in the Gallery of Gould Hall at OU. This event is free and open to the public.