Apr 12, 2024  
Course Catalog 2020-2021 
Course Catalog 2020-2021 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

FSEM 101 - Into the Wild: Nature as Place and Cultural Construct

Most Americans pursue “unfiltered experience.”  “A yearning for elsewhere, for a life beyond the one we’re leading,” suggests Jonathan Raban, “is universal [but] in the national mythology, it’s the quintessential American experience to arrive in a wild and inhospitable place, bend raw nature to one’s own advantage, and make it home.”  The “bending” might not be as important as the getting there, the getting out there as in Outward Bound, out into the woods, on the river, up into the mountains.  We are accustomed to seeing such an experience as “sublime,” a romantic vision discovered or re-discovered by romantic philosophers, novelists, filmmakers, and poets, so much so that going out into nature has become a commodity, a vacation package, complete with tour guides and slick pamphlets. This quest for a kind of transcendence associated with nature has existed since the very beginnings of the American experience and has recently been examined by Florence Williams in The Nature Fix, her exploration of neuroscientists’ grapplings with how we are affected by the natural world.

Credits 1