Members of the Ithaca Community visited campus for the March 15 event, creating butterflies under the guidance of entomologist/artist/Cornell doctoral student Annika Salzberg.

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Nabokov celebrated for crossing arts/science boundaries

The “butterfly effect” was in full bloom on March 14-15 as campus and community members celebrated the environmental and literary legacies of former Cornell professor Vladimir Nabokov.

The celebrations began with a packed crowd listening to a March 14 talk celebrating the opening of Cornell University Library’s “From Nabokov’s Net” exhibit in Mann Library. Events continued on March 15 with a panel discussion entitled “The Butterfly Effect,” and other activities, all part of the “Nabokov, Naturally” Arts Unplugged event from the College of Arts & Sciences.

“Nabokov's living legacy crosses traditional disciplinary and administrative boundaries,” said Anindita Banerjee, associate professor of comparative literature (A&S) and mastermind behind the A&S events, who taught a fall class focused on Nabokov’s dual interests in the natural world —especially butterflies — and writing. “Our panelists and participants are engaging in a similar exercise to the one I told my students about last fall. We are going outside of our comfort zones to create something beautiful by taking risks together, not alone. This is absolutely necessary at this time when everything in the universe is telling us to stay in one place, and we are afraid to break out of our boxes.”

A new exhibit on the second floor of Mann Library exhibit opened March 14 and was a highlight of the March 15 event, where visitors could also wander through the CALS Zone at Mann Library and visit with students showing their projects from the fall class, view a film created by eCornell for the event, and create their own butterfly using traditional and non-traditional materials, with the help of entomologist/artist/Cornell doctoral student Annika Salzberg.

“The Butterfly Effect” panel featured Banerjee; Corrie Moreau, Martha N. & John C. Moser Professor of Arthropod Biosystematics and Biodiversity and director and curator of the Cornell University Insect Collection (CALS); Jose Manuel Prieto, novelist and associate professor of Spanish, Seton Hall University; Katherine Reagan, curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, Cornell Libraries; Jenny Leijonhufvud, exhibits curator, Albert R. Mann Library; Anurag Agrawal, James A. Perkins Professor of Environmental Studies, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology (CALS) and Jenifer Presto, associate professor of Comparative Literature, University of Oregon. The panel was recorded and can be viewed here.

Read the entire story on The College of Arts & Sciences website.

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