“All good things are wild, and free,” wrote American transcendentalist, Henry David Thoreau. Throughout time, humans have turned to nature to answer fundamental questions about our society—Is civilization an improvement upon the reckless and feral existence we would inhabit in its absence? Or is civilization itself the aberration that deludes a more authentic experience to be had within the natural world? In this 6-week course, students will journey into nature with a handy writing utensil to explore, observe, and question humanity’s relationship with the great outdoors. They will read excerpts of works by Thoreau and fellow transcendentalists Ralph Waldo Emerson and Walt Whitman, and evaluate those works in context with modern parallels like Jon Krakauer’s novel Into the Wild and its film adaptation, as well as Werner Herzog’s documentary Grizzly Man. Non-western perspectives from works by Daoist, Hindu, and Buddhist scholars will also be considered. Ultimately, students will utilize their experience journaling about nature in order to produce an essay, poem, or short work of fiction to answer a fundamental question they propose about humanity’s relationship with the natural world.
Mondays and Wednesdays: 12:30–2 pm
6/15, 6/17, 6/22, 6/24, 6/29, 7/1, 7/6, 7/8, 7/13, 7/15, 7/20, 7/22
Instructor: N. Konkus
Platform: Microsoft Teams and Zoom
Cost: $280 per student