Brief Description of Course: In this course, we will explore the stories we tell about the natural world around and within us. We will engage with drama, poetry, film and essays, music, food, and virtual and material landscapes in order to better understand how and why we enjoy, use and abuse the natural world. On the one hand, we will confront the hard facts about many of the stories we tell: that they have led us to the brink of environmental catastrophe. On the other hand, through interactive group presentations and creative final projects, we will begin the exciting project of writing new stories, imagining a new and healthier relationship between humanity and the earth which sustains us.
Required Reading: Essays, poems and plays by writers including William Shakespeare, Henry David Thoreau, Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, Wendell Berry, Michael Pollan, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Carl Safina and many others. We will also watch a selection of films including Pocahontas, Wall-E, Merchants of Doubt, Rivers and Tides and This Changes Everything and discuss a variety of creation and apocalypse myths from ancient sources.
First Three Authors/Texts: [Subject to change: Check Blackboard for most up to date reading list] Creation myths from the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, and Ojibwe traditions; Pocahontas (Disney); Selections from Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.
Method of Evaluation: Class participation (20%), group presentation (30%), Journal (20%), Final Project (30%).