CORVALLIS - The historical connections between geology and American Indians living in New England is the focus of a talk May 12 at Oregon State University by Karen Halttunen, a professor of history from the University of Southern California.

Her presentation, "Where Did the 'Vanishing Indian' Go? Geology, Race, and the Making of Indian Rock," begins at 4 p.m. in Memorial Union Room 206. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture is part of the American Culture and Politics Speaker Series 2004-05, sponsored by the Thomas Hart and Mary Jones Horning Endowment in the Humanities at OSU.

In her talk, Halttunen will discuss how Euro-Americans in the 19th century viewed the New England landscape - which featured rocky outcrops, balanced boulders, and "glacial erratics" - as natural monuments to the region's native peoples. She will tie geology to the widespread conviction at the time that New England's native peoples were fast approaching racial "extinction."

Halttunen is one of the leading scholars of American cultural history, and serves as president of the American Studies Association. She has written a pair of books on cultural history and identity, and has a Ph.D. in U.S. history from Yale University.

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Christie Schwartz, 541-737-8560