MWF 11 - 11:50, MC 338
Office: MC 536 Office Hours: by appointment
Texts: All of the texts are available in the university bookstore.
Selected poems by Emily Dickinson and Walt Whitman (handout)
Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things by John C. Ryan and Alan Durning
The Machine and the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal by Leo Marx
Walden by Henry David Thoreau
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
The Professor's House by Willa Cather
Deliverance by James Dickey
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
In this course we will read nonfiction, fiction, and poetry that will help us to explore the complex relationships between "place" and "self." We will first attempt to identify and define the environments (places) around us and discover the inter-relationships we share with members (human and non-human) of those environments. Through the literature we read we shall then attempt to define the "self" through a paradigm of relationships with the members of those places. We shall consider these questions throughout the semester:
General Requirements: Click here for specific A, B, C, D requirements
- What is a sense of place?
- How am I connected physically and or spiritually to a place?
- How am I shaped by a place?
- What affect do I have on a place?
- How do I define my physical, spiritual, and environmental self?
- What experiences with the environment and with others have shaped my being?
- Two-to-three page response paper (typed) to each major reading assignment.
- Two-to-three page response paper (typed) to semester topics
- Book Report
- Service Component -- Marilyn Pedretti is the Volunteer Coordinator at Viterbo. Her e-mail address is <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Term project and Presentation. Click here for a rubric for the term project.
- Class attendance
Week One: August 30
Introduction to Environmental Literature
Selected poems by Dickinson and Whitman (handout)
"Introduction" to The Natural World (on reserve in the library)
"The Idea of a Garden " by Michael Pollan in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
Click here for class notes on The Environmental Imagination
Click here for the National Parks Conservation Association home page.
Click here for Environmental Issues Home Page
Click here for a second Environmental Issues Home Page
Click here for the Wisconsin Home Page
Service Project: Use any of the suggestions at http://www.npca.org/flash.html to improve a state or national park near La Crosse.
Weeks Two and Three: September 6, 13
Read Chapters One and Two in Walden by Henry David Thoreau -- To read Walden in hypertext, click here.
from Walking in The Natural World (on reserve in the library)
from Nature by Ralph Waldo Emerson in The Natural World
Click here for an "environmental" Web Page on Henry David Thoreau
Click here for an additional Web Page on Henry David Thoreau
Click here for Habitat for Humanity Home Page
Click here for discussion questions for Walden
Click here for pictures of Walden
Service Project: Contact the local Habitat for Humanity Chapter and determine ways to provide service hours for them.
Weeks Four and Five: September 20, 27
Read Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams
"Evolution as Fact and Theory" and "Learning to See" in The Natural World (on reserve in the library)
"Environmentalism of the Spirit" by Al Gore in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
"The Global Ecological Crisis" by Carolyn Merchant in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
"The Greenhouse Affect" by P.J. O’Rourke in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
Click here for an interview "The Politics of Place" with Terry Tempest Williams
Click here for a Web Page on Terry Tempest Williams as an environmentalist. Click here for Williams's official web page
Click here for the official Web Page of the Mormon Church
Click here for a definition of ecofeminism by Rosemary Radford Reuther
Click here for a research and reference guide to "nature, ecocriticism, and ecofeminism
Click here for some discussion questions on Refuge
Writing Assignment: Go to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. Purchase something to wear to class there, or something to use in your apartment. Describe what you learned from the experience.
Week Six: October 4
Read Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer
Click here for discussion questions for Into the Wild
Click here for a web page that has an essay by students who visited McCandless's death site.
For a review of Into the Wild, click here.
Writing Assignment: Why do we need a wilderness? Is a wilderness important to you? What do you seek in the wild? How has the wilderness shaped our national consciousness? Think of all of the important Judeo-Christian religious events that take place upon the mountain tops: Moses and Mount Sinai, the Transfiguration, the Temptation of Jesus, Jesus and the Sermon on the Mount. Why do we connect spiritual experiences with mountains? Click here for Wallace Stegner's comments on the wilderness. Click here for a student's journal response to Into the Wild. Click here for a student's formal essay on Into the Wild.
Weeks Seven and Eight: October 11, 18
Read Into the Forest by Jean Hegland
"The Obligation to Endure" in The Natural World
Click here for a review of Into the Forest and an description of Jean Hegland
Click here for a statement from concerned scientists and a statement from U.S. Bishops. Click on Apocalyptic Literature for an outline on how we are endangering the environment.
Click here for a writing assignment for Into the Forest. Click here for a mid-term discussion question.
Click here for a web site on The Giver that includes a lesson plan on The Giver.
Click here for a web site on Lois Lowry
Prospectus for term project due.
Weeks Nine and Ten: October 25, November 1
Read A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold (Read Part 1: "A Sand County Almanac" and "Wisconsin" in Part II and "The Land Ethic in Part IV.
"A White Heron" by Sarah Orne Jewett in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
"Decimation by Poachers" in The Natural World (on reserve in the library).
Click here for the Aldo Leopold Home Page. Click here for an outline on the Aldo Leopold land ethic. Click here for a definition of environmental ethics
Click here for the Greenpeace International Home Page
Click here for Environmental News Network
Click here for a Web Page on the land ethic
Click here for the official "Endangered Species" web site
Click here for some additional poems about nature
Writing Project: Keep a journal for two weeks. Note in the journal the changes you observe in the environment around you. Include also in your journal a detailed history of the place you have chosen to observe.
Writing Project: Use as a model any of the stories at http://www.wilderness.org/ethic/stories.shtml and write your own story of your relationship with the land.
Service Project: Design a service project from the ideas on the Aldo Leopold Home Page or from the Greenpeace International Home Page.
Film: Watch Rachel Carson's Silent Spring by the PBS The American Experience series.
Web Site: Click here for Charles Sheeler's American Landscape
Weeks Eleven and Twelve: November 8, 15
Read Stuff: The Secret Lives of Everyday Things by John C. Ryan and Alan Durning
Read The Professor's House by Willa Cather
"Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination" by Leslie Marmon Silko in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
from The Way to Rainy Mountain by N. Scott Momaday in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
Writing Project: Respond to my essay on a spiritual reading of A River Runs Through It . Click here for a writing assignment on Stuff.
Click here for discussion questions on The Professor's House Click here for a web site comparing The Professor's House with My Antonia
Click here for environmental questions on The Professor's House. Click here for an outline on archetypes
Click here to read my essay on a spiritual reading of A River Runs Through It
Click here for discussion questions on A River Runs Through It
Click here for a Web Site on A River Runs Through It
Click here for the Home Page for the Sierra Club
Click here for a Web Site on a coalition group formed to save the Blackfoot River from pollution
Click here for the on-line Call of the Wild and here for the Spark Notes for Call of the Wild. Click here for notes on naturalism and London.
Weeks Thirteen and Fourteen: November 22, 29 (Thanksgiving November 25)
Deliverance by James Dickey
Click herefor discussion questions on Deliverance
"Learning to See" in The Natural World
from "A River Runs Through It" by Norman Maclean in Constructing Nature (on reserve in the library)
Review A River Runs Through It and Deliverance (on reserve in the library)
Writing Assignment: Write a two-to-three page response to the differences in theme, characters, tone, or narrative in A River Runs Through It and Deliverance.
Week Fifteen: December 6
The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
Click here for an outline on existentialism. Click here for the Hemingway Review Journal. Click here for a good web site on Hemingway.
Click here for discussion questions on The Old Man and the Sea. Click here for a definition of the Hemingway code hero.
Week Sixteen: December 13
Final Exam: Click here for Final Exam Discussion Questions
Semester Projects Presentations:
- Click here for the university definitions of an excused and unexcused absence
- Click here for the university policy on sexual harassment
- Click here for the university policy on plagiarism
- If you are a person with a disability and require any auxiliary aids, services or other accommodations for this class, please see Wayne Wojciechowski in Murphy Center room 320 (796-3085) within ten days to discuss your accommodation needs. If there other accommodations that need to be made for you to succeed in the class, please indicate those needs to the instructor. Click here for a link to the Learning Center.
Click here for the English Department Home Page and Helpful Links
Click here for the Viterbo University web page on critical thinking.