Me and Papa and Aldo Leopold
Anna Zeide grew up as the daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants in the woods of southern Arkansas. Her father Boris was an eccentric professor of forestry, whose research touched on Aldo Leopold, a leading thinker in the history of ecology and wilderness conservation. When Anna’s academic path unexpectedly led her to graduate study in the history of science and the environment at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, she rediscovered Leopold, who had been a professor there in the 1930s and ’40s. Tragically, Boris died in the middle of Anna’s time in graduate school, which led her to return to his past work on Leopold in an effort to recover her and her father’s intellectual connections amid her grief. As she unearthed the controversial reactions to his work, which was critical of Leopold’s ideas of ecosystem thinking, she came to reckon with ideas of authorial identity, family history, and environmental thought.