Nature, and Landscape
"Which path do you intend to take, Nell?' said the Constable, sounding very interested. 'Conformity or rebellion?" "Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded-they are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity."
--Neal Stephenson, The Diamond Age
Culture, Nature, Landscape is a course in advanced cultural geography that examines taken for granted ideas about nature and culture and explores their integration in the idea of landscape. The course examines both the physical form of landscapes as well as their representation in landscape painting, photography, film, video games, and literature. We consider a wide variety of “natural” and “cultural” landscapes including nature parks, theme parks, ethnic neighborhoods, cities, suburbs, and shopping malls among others. Students will also examine the ways that landscapes, spaces, and places are implicated in the production of ideas about “race”, gender, ethnicity and nationality. Field trips give students practice analyzing the cultural meanings of landscapes. The course is inherently interdisciplinary, drawing on writing in geography, sociology, cultural studies, and contemporary art. Because it is an advanced class students will be challenged to think in new ways as well as to develop advanced skills in reading and writing. Students who take this course will learn to cope with contradiction and ambiguity.
2/8/05 I have posted futher guidelines on the final paper.
1/20/05 I have made a change to the schedule. Our library visit is now on Feburary 8.
The web site is updated for Spring 2005!
Pictures from when I taught
the course at Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota.