Ashton Nichols Syllabus

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Essay #1

American Nature Writing: Environment, Culture and Values

Essay #1

Choose one (1) of the following chapters from Walden:

“Economy” 

Where I Lived, and What I Lived For” 

“Reading”

“Higher Laws” 

“Brute Neighbors”

 “Conclusion”

Reread your chapter carefully, and then write an essay that explains how your chapter helps you to understand the entire book from which it is taken. What is it about this chapter that connects to Thoreau’s wider points, and how could a reader use your chapter to help to make sense of the whole work. Your essay should have a thesis (a central controlling idea) that suggests clearly how your chapter helps a reader to understand the entire book.

Write with care and attention to the details of the chapter you have chosen and to the entire text. Use concrete specific details from the chapter and the book to support your claims. You may refer to other chapters besides the one you are analyzing to help with your analysis. Organize your essay in a way that presents your ideas clearly and coherently. Proofread your work carefully.

Your essay should be four to five pages double-spaced pages of Times New Roman 12-point type, prepared in accordance with the English Department website on “English Writing Guidelines”: http://www.dickinson.edu/info/20111/english/748/writing_guidelines

Your essay should have a title page that includes a title, your name, the class, and the date. The essay will be due at the start of class on Tuesday, February 25. You must have your completed essay with you when you arrive on time in class at 9:00 a.m. that day.

NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED

404 Senior Thesis Critical Writing Workshop

ENGLISH 404       SENIOR THESIS WORKSHOP       NICHOLS

REQUIRED TEXTS:

Required texts for this class will be copies made by each student of sets of three (3) different draft materials (approx.10-15 pp. each set) for distribution to members of the class well before our weekly workshops. These copies will be returned to their authors (with comments) by each student before the end of each workshop week. In addition, students should familiarize themselves carefully with the following useful web-links as they begin research and writing:

Research Guidance: Waidner-Spahr Library

MLA Format and MLA Citation Guide

Scholarly and Academic Research: Finding Journal Articles

Google Scholar: link to wide-ranging scholarly web resources

COURSE LEARNING GOALS:

This course will seek to extend the work we began in 403 into a weekly research and writing workshop. The workshop will let each student develop, research, and write a major essay on an approved literary topic. In addition, students will provide input for each other throughout the semester through discussion comments and written comments on draft materials. Each student will read and research as widely as necessary in order to conceive, develop, write, and accurately document a coherent and well-focused thesis essay of 35-50 pages. Students may make use of the full services of the Waidner-Spahr Library, outside libraries, and the Writing Center in order to complete this project.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS 

Students will be required to attend all classes, hand in all written work on schedule, and complete the final course project no later than Monday, APRIL 21 at 5:00 p.m. Students will read and comment on other students’ work based on the attached schedule (pp. 2-3). Each student will be responsible for meeting all of the deadlines included on this schedule. Students preparing draft materials for each week’s workshop will be required to have copies of those materials in the mailboxes of members of the class (and the professor) no later than the Friday before the workshop. Students receiving these draft copies will then be required to return them to their authors by the Thursday following the workshop. Each student will participate in two full-class workshops with his or her own work and one workshop with only the members of his or her workshop group. The final project will be 35-50 pages of your written text, not including title page, endnotes, or works cited, prepared in Times New Roman font, 12 pt. type, and one-inch margins, prepared in the correct MLA format (see copies of PMLAMLA Handbook, the Purdue online OWL, and earlier 404 projects in the English Department or the Waidner-Spahr Library). Note that MLA style has changed in recent years, and you are responsible for adopting the most recent version (it describes the form of each “work” cited at the end of the citation: Print, Film, DVD, Videodisk, etc., and web sites by the date constructed and the date consulted, without URL.) Here is a site from Cornell University’s library that offers one of the simplest and most direct versions of current MLA format and “Works Cited” style:

http://www.library.cornell.edu/resrch/citmanage/mla

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Grades will be based on the following scale. All written and workshop components of the course must be completed in order for you to pass the class (i.e. you cannot skip one of your own work-shopping or draft sessions or of your classmates):

Workshop Comments/       Draft                 Final
Participation                       Materials           Project
20%                                   30%                  50% =  100%

Do not hesitate to contact me during the semester to discuss our workshops, your research, your writing, or your grade.

Workshop Schedule and Deadlines

January

21 T       Workshop: bring a draft prospectus for every class member (15 copies)
23 TH   Prospectus comments due in mailboxes (HUB#s and Nichols)                      24 F       Final Prospectus copies due in mailboxes               ________________________________________________________

28 T     Workshop: Final Prospectus critiques and approval                                               30 TH  Final reflections on prospectuses and project plans (e-mails)                                    31 F       Group #1 drafts due in mailboxes        ________________________________________________________

Feb 4  T  Workshop Group #1 (full-class discussion)
6 H        Class comments returned to Group #1
7  F         Group #2 drafts due in mailboxes
________________________________________________________

11 T     Workshop Group #2 (full-class discussion)
13 TH     Class comments returned to Group #2
14 F     Group #3 drafts due in mailboxes
________________________________________________________

18 T     Workshop Group #3 (full-class discussion)
20 TH       Class comments returned to Group #3
21 F      Group #1 drafts due in mailboxes
________________________________________________________

25 T     Workshop Group #1 (full-class discussion)                                                   27 TH Class comments returned to Group #1                                                              28 F      Group #2 drafts due in mailboxes ______________________________________________________

March 4 T Workshop Group # 2 (full-class discussion)                                                               6 TH   Class comments returned to Group #2                                                                                 7 F   Group #3 drafts due in mailboxes

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SPRING BREAK 8-16 ________________________________________________________

18 T   Workshop Group #3 (full-class discussion)
20 TH    Class comments returned to Group #3
21 F   Group #1 drafts due to Group #1 only
________________________________________________________

25 T    Workshop Group #1 (Group #1 only: McClures Gap Road)
27 TH      Group #1 comments returned to Group #1
28 F     Group #2 drafts to Group #2 only
________________________________________________________

April  1  T   Workshop Group #2 (Group #2 only: McClures Gap Road)
3 TH        Group #2 comments returned to Group #2
4       Group #3 drafts to Group #3 only
________________________________________________________

8 T      Workshop Group #3 (Group #3 only: McClures Gap Road)
10 TH      Group #3 comments returned to Group #3
________________________________________________________

11 F-21 M Writing, editing, and printing (have a finished copy in hand by Friday April 18) ________________________________________________________

April 21, Monday, PROJECT DUE: (one unbound copy to EC 305 by 5:00 p.m.) NO LATE PAPERS*
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Friday, May 2 at 3 p.m. An unbound copy for the archives and a bound copy for the English department must be submitted to the English department academic coordinator–Kelly Winter-Fazio–by 2 p.m. on the last day of classes – (make sure the date and professor’s name are on the cover sheet of these copies) 
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Official guidelines on the departmental 404 lateness policy and College policies:

By uniform English Department policy, all final drafts of 404 theses are due on Monday, April 21nd , at 5:00 PM.

Late submissions will be subject to severe penalties on the thesis grade. Lateness is a very serious matter in 404. The simple answer to this problem is to submit all of your work (draft materials and final thesis) on time (or early!). Here is the Departmental Policy on lateness as well as other general rules for 404:

Rules for Senior Thesis in English at Dickinson 

1. The final draft of the senior thesis:

A. Should be a minimum of 10,000 words and a maximum of 15,000 words (35 to 50 pages), not including apparatus (works cited, acknowledgements, etc.), in 12-point Times New Roman typeface with 1” margins. Word count must be appended to the document upon submission.

B. Should correctly follow MLA format, including the works cited pages.

2.  Students must submit three copies of their final paper.

One final copy for grading by 5 p.m. on Friday of the 12th week of classes. (If this date is a College recognized religious holiday, the due date will be 5 p.m. the Monday following.) This copy should be double-sided and given directly to the instructor.

 By department policy, late papers will receive a grade of F.

Two additional copies, due by 3 p.m. on the last day of classes, to Kelly Winters-Fazio, the English Department Academic Coordinator. 1) One copy left unbound on acid-free paper for the college archives for permanent retention. This copy of the paper should be double-sided and printed out on acid-free paper to ensure its longevity. This copy should be left unbound and placed in an individual envelope or folder with the student’s name on the tab.
 2) One bound copy to be housed in the English department. This copy of the paper should be double-sided and bound by the Print Center. You may choose a colored cover sheet for the front and back cover page.

3.  All three copies should be fully paginated, including any acknowledgments, preface, appendices, and works cited.

4.  The title page of all three copies of the paper should include full title, author, date of submission, and the name of the 404 instructor.

5.   Grades for English 404 will not be submitted until ALL copies of your 404 paper are received.

Academic Honesty

The Dickinson plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced. This class adheres to the college’s Community Standards, which clearly state: “Students are expected to do their own work. Work submitted in fulfillment of academic assignments and provided on examinations is expected to be original by the student submitting it.” Please review the Community Standards document for more information. Students have failed to graduate from Dickinson on-time based on academic honesty issues in 404; please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you may have about citation, documentation, or academic honesty in relation to your thesis. The most severe penalties (failure to complete the English major; failure to graduate) can result from academic honesty problems in 404. Don’t risk it!

Statement on Disability Services

In compliance with the Dickinson College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss requests made by students with disabilities for academic accommodations. Such requests must be verified in advance by the Coordinator of Disability Services who will provide a signed copy of an accommodation letter, which must be presented to me prior to any accommodations being offered. Requests for academic accommodations should be made during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that timely and appropriate arrangements can be made.

Students requesting accommodations are required to register with Disability Services, located in Academic Advising, first floor of Biddle House.  Please contact Marni Jones, Coordinator of Disability Services (at ext. 1080 or jonesmar@dickinson.edu ) to verify their eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

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Final Advice

As you begin research and writing, consult the bibliographic materials you have already used in 403. Remember that many of our texts for that course included useful bibliographies. Continue to read widely, but remember that you will reach a point within the first three weeks of the semester where you will need to begin writing work-in-progress materials for the class. In addition, remember that the library and I for advice and guidance. Do not overlook the possibility of extending your research into libraries beyond Dickinson and Carlisle through interlibrary loan or personal visits (especially over Spring Break). This work is supposed to represent the culmination of four years at Dickinson and also of all of your work as an English major. Make this a piece of work of which you and I and the English department can be proud.

Also remember that this course is not just about your own research and writing. You are expected to be an active participant in the workshop process. This means that you will need to read work by your classmates with care, make comments on the draft materials they provide, and speak up in our weekly sessions with useful comments and suggestions for improvement. This aspect of the course will form an important part of your own grade (20%). By the end of the semester, I will ask each of you to comment on those members of the workshop whose comments were most helpful and those whose comments were least helpful as the semester proceeded. When this course succeeds, it does so as a shared effort. By the end of the semester, our goal should be that each student has produced a successful piece of work–whatever the final letter grade–and that the class has produced a series of projects we will all be pleased to send to the Dickinson library. Imagine coming back to Carlisle with your grandchild in fifty years to see the product of your spring 2011 labors. Also imagine picking up an academic book in the future and seeing your thesis referred to as a source for a high-powered scholarly argument. Now, get serious about your most important single piece of academic work at Dickinson. Now, get busy!
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Professor Ashton Nichols, Class: 1:30 p.m. Tuesday
Office Hours:  T TH 10:30 a.m. 12 noon and by appointment                 Classroom K 178

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American Nature Writing: Environment, Culture, Values

Environmental Studies 111 / English 101     

American Nature Writing:

Environment, Culture, Values     

Spring 2014


Required Texts:

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau. Ed. Bill McKibben, Library of America

Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting, Ashton Nichols, Palgrave Macmillan

Walden, or Life in the Woods, Henry David Thoreau, G. W. Zouck

A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold, Ballantine/Random House

Desert Solitaire, Edward Abbey, Touchstone/Simon Shuster

The End of Nature, Bill McKibben, Anchor Doubleday

Course Aims and Objectives:

What does American nature writing have to do with the environment, culture, and values? A great deal. What does great literature have to do with nonfictional observation of the natural world? A surprising amount. Our course will survey writings by a wide range of authors: young and old, male and female, northern and southern, black and white. We will set this range of works in dialogue with major environmental questions of the past two centuries: wilderness and species preservation, appreciation of wild nature, pollution. The course will also be a study of language, of literary styles, and most of all of the link between literature and “environment, culture, and values.” Our texts will be literary and scientific. Our contexts will be environmental, ethical, and ecological. We will work to answer a series of questions about the relationship between the natural world and human beings who have defined and affected that world since 1800. Are humans just a part of the natural environment? Are we distinct from nature? Is nature beautiful and benign (sunsets, daffodils, puffins) or ugly and destructive (hurricanes, AIDS, death)? How and why should we preserve nature? Why is climate change considered the major challenge facing the modern world? We will try to understand how literary texts reflect the context of the times in which they were produced and also the times in which they have been received by readers. Our guides will include novelists, essayists, and ourselves. We will examine the current importance (as well as the controversial aspects) of evolutionary ideas, and we will emphasize the role played by literature in the development of our own environmental assumptions and values.

Useful Websites for American Nature Writing:

Romantic Natural History:

Nature Writing (1791-2009) 

Berkeley History of Evolution

Walden Woods

Edward Abbey

Aldo Leopold

Bill McKibben

Required Work:

Students will be required to read carefully and come to class prepared to discuss all assigned work. Reading quizzes and in-class writing will contribute to discussions. Discussion will form an important part of your evaluation in this course. More than two (2) unexcused absences will be grounds for lowering your grade. You must complete all required work in order to pass this class.

Grading will be based on the following scale:

Class participation————-10%   (includes group work)
Short essay (one work)——–20%
Long essay (authors/works)–30%
Final exam ———————- 40%
Total                                                100%

The short essay (4-5 pp.) will ask you to analyze a single text. The longer essay (9-10 pp.) will ask you to connect at least one work to the culture in which it was produced. The final exam will be cumulative. I am available during office hours and by appointment to discuss the course, our readings, your writing, or your grade.

Academic Honesty

The Dickinson plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced. This class adheres to the College’s Community Standards, which clearly state: “Students are expected to do their own work. Work submitted in fulfillment of academic assignments and provided on examinations is expected to be original by the student submitting it.” Please review the Community Standards document for more information.

Statement on Disability Services

In compliance with the Dickinson College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss requests made by students with disabilities for academic accommodations. Such requests must be verified in advance by the Coordinator of Disability Services who will provide a signed copy of an accommodation letter, which must be presented to me prior to any accommodations being offered. Requests for academic accommodations should be made during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that timely and appropriate arrangements can be made.

Students requesting accommodations are required to register with Disability Services, located in Academic Advising, first floor of Biddle House.  Please contact Marni Jones, Coordinator of Disability Services (at ext. 1080 or jonesmar@dickinson.edu ) to verify their eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations .


Professor Ashton Nichols: K 192  

Class meetings: 9:00 a.m.-10:15 p.m. T H

Office Hours: T &Th  10:30 a.m. -12:00 noon & by appt.  

Classroom: EC 405

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Readings for American Nature Writing 


January 21  T   American Nature Writing–our syllabus as a text (+Web)

23  TH   American Earth, xvii-xx, xxi-1, and Thoreau Journal’s 1-8


28 T  Walden, Thoreau Introductions, 5-10, 11-21 and 22-98

30 TH  Walden 99-188


February  4 T Walden  189-284

6 TH   Walden  285-end Writing About Literature: Assign Essay #1


11 T George Catlin, Lydia Sigourney, Susan Fenmore Cooper, Table Rock 37-61

13  TH  Walt Whitman George Perkins Marsh, P. T. Barnum 62-83     


18 T John Muir, W. H. H. Murray, Frederick Law Olmstead 84-125      

20 TH  John Burroughs, Gifford Pinchot 145-180    


25 T    J. N. Darling, Don Marquis 224-238 (plus pictures), essay workshop——Essay #1 due in class

27 TH  Sand County Almanac Introduction-136


March  4 T  Sand County Almanac 137 (“Thinking Like a Mountain”)-end                Assign Essay #2 

6 TH  Jane Jacobs, Rachel Carson, Russell Baker 359-380 + Darwin (Below)


11 T, 13 TH  SPRING BREAK


18 T Lynn White, Paul Erlich, Garrett Hardin 405-412, 435-450

20 TH Philip Dick, 451-453, Blade Runner Trailer “She’s a Replicant”  Film Clip


25 T Desert Solitaire Introduction-150

27 TH Desert Solitaire 151-end


April  1 T 473-479, 489-492 + Big Yellow Taxi  Mercy, Mercy Me (The Ecology)

3  TH  Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard 505-549


8 T  N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko 570-590, Linda Hogan 809-14

10 TH  Alice Walker  659-671, Cesar Chavez 690-696


15 T R. Crumb 590-94, 725-738 (plus pictures)

17 TH  Urbanatural Roosting xiii-xxiii, 3-101


22 T  Urbanatural Roosting 101-212

24 TH The End of Nature xiii-xxiv + 1-78


29 T  The End of Nature 82-end

May    1 TH   McKibben on His Arrest, Exam Review–Essay #2 due in class



May 5,  MONDAY, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. 
, EC 405, FINAL EXAM   


Terms to Consider

TEXT: n.1. main body of matter in a manuscript, book, newspaper, distinguished from notes, appendixes, headings, illustrations. 2. the actual, original words of an author or speaker. 3. any of the various forms in which a writing exists. [ME, ML text(us) wording, L: structure (of an utterance), texture.]

CONTEXT:  n. 1. parts of written or spoken statement that precede or follow a word or passage, usually influencing its meaning or effect. 2. circumstances that surround a particular event, situation, etc. [late ME, L context(us) joining together].

LITERATURE: n. 1. writing regarded as having permanent worth through its intrinsic excellence. 2. The entire body of writings of a specific language, period, people, etc. 3. the writings dealing with a particular subject: the literature of ornithology.

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Nature and Humans: Questions to Consider

Are human beings just the mere result of random evolutionary processes over time? Is that all they are?

“Be fruitful and multiply.”–Is that a good idea? Is that a waste?

Is AIDS natural? Is spinal bifida? Is death? Is nature “good”?

Does evolution necessarily conflict with the religious teachings of Christianity? Can the two viewpoints–religious and scientific–be reconciled?

Nature doesn’t care less about you or me? Or does it?

————————————————————————————————–

Darwin and Darwinism

–”You can’t wash the slugs out of your lettuce without disrespect to your ancestors.”–Ruskin
–”The growth of a large business is merely survival of the fittest.” –John D. Rockefeller

What were the scientific implications of Darwin’s theory?
I. The principle of natural selection determines the survival of species.
II. Species have not existed forever in their present form: Galapagos endemism.
A. Each life form on earth is undergoing continual change.
B. These changes result from chance mutations.
III. The earth and life on earth have existed for an inconceivably long time.
(Lyell, Principles of Geology, 1830)
IV. A record of the earlier stages of evolution can be found in fossils and in the anatomy
of living creatures.Chambers, Vestiges of Creation, 1844)

What were the wider implications of the theory?
I. Natural laws
A. The laws of nature are subject to change because the material conditions that
govern those laws can change.
1.) cooperation: symbiosis or parasitism?
2.) competition: the fittest?
B. There are no “ideals” in nature or natural form.
1.) what is “right” is what succeeds over time.
2.) evolutionary success: shark, horseshoe crab, cockroach
3.) evolutionary  failure: dinosaur, human brain (?)
II. Theology–“It is just as noble a conception of the deity to believe he created primal forms capable of self-development.” –Canon Charles Kingsley
A. Man is no longer viewed as unique
1.) end-product of creation?
2.) human’s “mental moral and spiritual qualities evolved by precisely the
same processes that gave the eagle its claws and the tapeworm its hooks.”
B. Doubts about the Biblical account of human origins and fate emerge.
1.) 4004 B.C. vs. billions of years
2.) Adam and Eve vs. The Descent of Man
3.) creation as a continuous and self-modifying process
4.) destruction as likewise ongoing and accidental.
III. Social Darwinism
A. All sciences are historical
1.) science always subject to revision (non-Euclidean geometry)
2.) no laws, only theories (quantum physics)
3.) science is “true” based on best possible evidence
4.) science is never about faith; it is only about knowledge
B. Social order is a “struggle for existence.”
1.) revolutionary change: Marxist ideology
2.) laissez-faire capitalism
3.) do the ends always justify the means?
IV. Evolutionary psychology
1.) human neural processes evolved by the same means as all organic life
2.) the human mind is the dynamic result of constant evolutionary change

First-Year Seminar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Thoreau and American Nature Writing . . . . . Fall 2013

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Thoreau and American Nature Writing 

Fall 2013

First-Year Seminar, Dickinson College

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Why have I titled our seminar Thoreau and American Nature Writing? Because Henry David Thoreau produced the ur-text, the foundational document, of American nature writing, and because the tradition that followed him has proven so important to the wider tradition of American literature. Nature writing of this kind may, in fact, be the only unique genre that America has contributed to world literature. Our learning goals for this course will be to understand the “nature” of nature-writing while also paying close attention to the works of some of the finest practitioners of the genre. We will also work to define “nature” and to understand the complex connection between humans and the nonhuman world they inhabit. What does all of this have to do with a First-Year Seminar at Dickinson?

Our readings will lead to discussions and essays that engage a progressive set of questions:

When did “nature writing” become a specific genre?

Is “nature” itself a category distinct from human activity?

Do individuals have a responsibility toward the natural world?

Are humans a part of nature, or do we exist outside of nature–distinct from nature–in some way?

These initial questions will lead to more complex considerations. To what extent are we defined by natural characteristics (gender, race, biology), and to what extent do our “natural” characteristics come into conflict with social forces (politics, class, education)? When a nature-lover says that she “loves” nature, what about cancer and AIDS? Is nature a “good” thing? Are tumors and viruses “natural”? Is nature “bad”? Is it neutral? What might that mean?

How will we proceed? Our readings will be drawn from the following texts:

Walden (Thoreau)

Sand County Almanac (Aldo Leopold)

Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism (Ashton Nichols)

Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Annie Dillard)

The Snow Leopard (Peter Matthiessen)

The End of Nature (Bill McKibben)

We will also look at poems and prose extracts by William Blake, William Wordsworth, Robert Frost, and Seamus Heaney. The dates of composition of these texts range from the 1790s to our own decade. Although much has changed over the years covered by this time span, the central focus of our seminar’s inquiry–the connection of humans to the natural world–has not changed. Why write about nature at all? What obligation, if any, does each of us have to nature? Are such questions even useful as ways of interpreting our experience? By examining the complexities of these ideas, we will explore various ways of defining ourselves and our relation to the world outside us.

Required Texts

(in these precise editions, all are available in the Dickinson bookstore):

Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper Collins) 9780060953027

 Hacker, Diana. Pocket Style Manual (Bedford) 978-0312664800

Leopold, Aldo. Sand County Almanac (Ballantine) 9780345345053

Matthiessen, Peter. The Snow Leopard (Viking Penguin) 9780143105510

McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature (Random House) 9780812976083

Nichols, Ashton. Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting (Palgrave Macmillan) 9781137033944

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings (Norton Critical) 978039393090

Diana Hacker Online Supplement

Selected additional readings and handouts

Required Websites and HyperTexts:

The Walden Woods Project

Henry David Thoreau

Bill McKibben (Henry Holt Publishers)

Aldo Leopold Foundation

Annie Dillard

A Romantic Natural History 1750-1859

Web Resources for Nature Writing and Writers (VCU)

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Required Reading : Each student will be responsible for having read each assignment for the class period indicated by each date. To “read” means more than merely to let your eyes move across the page. As British university students say, you should not read for class, you should prepare for class; that means that you have read long enough and carefully enough to be ready to answer questions (orally or in writing) about your reading upon arrival in class, to participate in (or help to lead) a discussion, and the reveal your understanding of the day’s assignment as well as any questions you may still have about the work for each day.

August

22 TH 9:00 a.m.–Introduction to Thoreau and American Nature Writing (define “nature”)

23 F 9:00-10;15  a.m. Academic Advising

24 Saturday 1 p.m. [DIAGNOSTIC ESSAY DUE: see end of syllabus]

26 M 11:30 a.m. Walden, (“Economy,” p.1-27)

30 F 11:30 a.m. Walden, (“Economy,” p. 27-54)

September

2 M Library Class: introduction to annotated bibliography assignment  with Kayla Birt

6 F Walden, (“Where I Lived,” “Reading,” “Sounds,” “Solitude,” “Visitors”)

9 M Walden, ( “Bean-Field,” “Village,” “Ponds,” “Baker Farm,” Higher Laws”)

13 F Walden, (“Brute Neighbors,” “House-Warming,”)

16 M Walden, (“Former Inhabitants,” “Winter Animals,” “Pond in Winter,” “Spring,” “Conclusion,”)

20 F [ESSAY #1 DUE: THOREAU ON NATURE]

23 M Almanac, pp. xiii-98

27 F Almanac, pp. 101-202

30 M Almanac, pp. 202-296

October

4 F Poetry day: Bring a poem and readings

7 M Pilgrim, Chapters 1-5

11 F Pilgrim, Chapters 6-1

14 M Pilgrim, Chapters 11-15, “Afterword,” “About Annie Dillard”

18 F Research and Writing Day: No Class

21 M MIDTERM PAUSE: No Class

25 F [ESSAY #2 A SELF IN THE NATURAL WORLD]

28 M Urbanatural Roosting “Contents”-77

31 TH 12-1:15 p.m. Sue Coe (Arts Award Winner) Q & A,  ATS, REQUIRED

November

1 F Urbanatural Roosting 77-152

4 M Urbanatural Roosting 152-230

8 F Snow Leopard, pp. xv-104

11 M Snow Leopard, pp. 105-209

15 F Snow Leopard, pp. 210-325

18 M [ESSAY #3 MCKIBBEN VS. DILLARD]

22 F End of Nature Part I

25 M End of Nature Part II [ESSAY #4 REVISION DUE: ANY ESSAY] Final class: Last day to submit Annotated Bibliography

Required Writing : All students will bring at least one sheet of written notes to each class (for which there is a reading assignment) for discussion. These may be reading notes, journal entries based on your reading, a series of questions, or a combination of notes, comments, and questions. I may collect these notes at the start of class, at the end of class, or not at all. I will collect batches of these notes at various points during the semester. Make sure that you save all of them.

In addition, each student will be responsible for three (3) essays, one (1) graded revision, and an annotated bibliography, all due on the designated dates (above). Each essay will have an assignment sheet that will be distributed no less than one week before the essay is due. These assignment sheets will explain the learning goals, and formal requirements, for each essay. Each essay must be typed, double-spaced, and clipped or stapled. Each essay must have a title page including a title, your name, and the date. In some cases you will be asked to bring notes, outlines, or a rough draft to class before the final due date.

Since we will use finished essays for in-class exercises on due dates, NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED.

Our seminar will also be making use of the Dickinson Writing Center at least once during the term; more on that later.

Diagnostic: The diagnostic essay will ask you to respond to a passage by Wordsworth on the relationship between human beings and nature. You will have two (2) days to complete this essay. You will be given credit for completing the assignment, but the essay will not be formally graded.

(See paper text assignment sheets–distributed in class–for all assignments.)

Essay #1: Thoreau and Nature–Describe the natural world as it is defined by Thoreau. Is this an effective definition of nature, or does Thoreau’s definition have its limitations?

Essay #2: A Self in the Natural World–describe a single experience in which you came to understand some aspect of your relationship to the nonhuman world.

Essay #3: McKibben vs. Dillard. Compare and contrast McKIbben’s End of Nature and Dillard’s Pilgrim at Tinker Creek . How are the two books different in their tone and in the way they convey their messages? What do the two works have in common in addition to a concern with nature?

Essay #4: Revision. You will be able to revise any one of these three essays for a new and additional grade. It will not cancel your first grade.

Annotated Bibliography : Your final written assignment for this course will be an annotated bibliography of one of the authors or works we are studying. You will be asked to choose an author or a work during September, and you will then have the entire semester to complete an annotated bibliography of at least ten (10) items. See Anna Orlov’s sample bibliography: Orlov Annotated Bibliography.

The form, as well as techniques for the preparation of this bibliography, will be discussed in detail during our library session and several class periods. The purpose of this assignment is for you to learn the basic elements of college-level academic research. This research assignment will be due at the conclusion of the course.

Course Grading :

Class notes. Discussion. Participation. Essay 1. Essay 2. Essay 3. Revision. Bibliography

    10%———-10%——–10%———-10%—-10%—–10%—–20%——20%===100%

All course requirements must be completed in order for you to pass the course.

If all of this information makes our seminar sound difficult, demanding, and downright Draconian, now is the time to put your fears to rest. Part of the purpose of the First-Year Seminar Program is to let our group get to know one another in a variety of formats. I will, of course, be available for advising and office hours as the semester proceeds. But we will also be meeting more informally for at least a meal or two, a film or two, and I hope for possible and attend at least one orientation on the network e-mail system, so that we may also communicate electronically–what would Thoreau think! Don’t hesitate to ask me about details of the course, our readings, your writing, your grade, or any other aspect of your life at Dickinson. Remember, “seminar” comes from a word that means “seed plot.” With any luck, this experience will be an important seed plot for the garden of your years at Dickinson.

Academic Honesty:

The Dickinson plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced. This class adheres to the college’s Community Standards, which clearly state: “Students are expected to do their own work. Work submitted in fulfillment of academic assignments and provided on examinations is expected to be original by the student submitting it.” Please review the Community Standards document for more information.

Academic Integrity Tutorial

Required of all First-Year Students

DEADLINE:  Monday, September 16, 2013 at 8AM.

 All incoming Dickinson students are required to complete the Academic Integrity tutorial posted on Moodle.   Students who do not complete this instruction will not be able to request spring classes during the registration period in October.

Instructions:

  • Logon to Moodle through Gateway.
  • Select the course entitled “Academic Integrity Tutorial – 2013.”
  • Once in the course, click on the link to the tutorial “Join the Conversation: Work Honestly and Use Information Responsibly.”
  • Follow the instructions carefully.  All questions must be completed to get credit for the tutorial.

Statement on Disability Services:

In compliance with the Dickinson College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss requests made by students with disabilities for academic accommodations. Such requests must be verified in advance by the Coordinator of Disability Services who will provide a signed copy of an accommodation letter, which must be presented to me prior to any accommodations being offered. Requests for academic accommodations should be made during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that timely and appropriate arrangements can be made.

Students requesting accommodations are required to register with Disability Services, located in Academic Advising, first floor of Biddle House.  Please contact Marni Jones, Coordinator of Disability Services (at ext. 1080 or jonesmar@dickinson.edu ) to verify their eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

Professor Ashton Nichols

Class meetings: M and F 11:30 a.m., Classroom: East College 312

Office Hours: M F 10:00-11:30, 12-1:30 T, and by appointment

*********************************************************************************************

Diagnostic Essay

Thoreau and American Nature Writing

—-Here is a famous sonnet by William Wordsworth:

The world is too much with us; late and soon,
Getting and spending, we lay waste our powers;
Little we see in Nature that is ours;
We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!
This Sea that bares her bosom to the moon,
The winds that will be howling at all hours,
And are up-gathered now like sleeping flowers,
For this, for everything, we are out of tune;
It moves us not.–Great God! I’d rather be
A Pagan suckled in a creed outworn* *[raised in an ancient religion]
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea* *[meadow]
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn;
Have sight of Proteus* rising from the sea; *[sea-god who could change shape] Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn Or Or hear old Triton* blow his wreathed horn. *[sea-god with a shell-trumpet]

—What do you think Wordsworth means in this sonnet?

Write a 500-600 word essay (no more than two double-spaced typed pages) in which you explain these lines in your own words. Do not read what others have written about this poem. Do not do any research. Simply read the lines carefully (several times), and then explain them in your own words. You may, of course, use a dictionary.

This essay is due at the start of our class on Saturday, August 24 at 1:00 p.m. The essay should be typed and double spaced. No late papers will be accepted. The essays will be used in class on this day. I will comment on these essays and return them to you, but they will not receive a letter grade. They will, however, be evaluated as part of your first class participation.

 

ENGL 403 Thoreau & American Nature Writing

FALL 2013

Required Texts:

Dillard, Annie. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (Harper Collins) 9780060953027

Hacker, Diana. Pocket Style Manual (Bedford) 978-0312664800

Horton, Tom. Bay Country (John Hopkins) 9780801848759

Leopold, Aldo. Sand County Almanac (Ballantine) 9780345345053

Matthiessen, Peter. The Snow Leopard (Viking Penguin) 9780143105510

McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature (Random House) 9780812976083

Nichols, Ashton. Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting (Palgrave Macmillan) 9781137033944

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings (Norton Critical) 978039393090

     Web assignments and handouts as needed

 (all texts must be in these editions)

Course Aims and Objectives

This course will seek to understand connections between Henry David Thoreau and the tradition of environmental writing that he began in America. This focus will allow us to engage a number of important questions that confront students and scholars interested in the tradition of environmental literature in America, the sources of that tradition in a wider American culture, and the impact of that tradition on the current environmental movement, nationally and internationally. From the preservation of wild lands to debates about global warming, from the desire to conserve and protect animal species to the need to make use of natural resources for the betterment of human life and communities, we will explore the ways environmental literature has played a crucial role in the development of these ideas. The course will focus attention on a variety of critical approaches and literary methods (formalist, historicist, feminist, and ecocritical–among others) and will help students to develop more sophisticated research skills as they move toward their senior thesis projects. Students will write one short diagnostic essay (8-10 pp.) of careful textual analysis, focusing on a single chapter in Walden. They will also produce one longer research essay (12-15 pp.) which may or may not form the basis for their senior thesis in 404.

Websites Useful for the Study of Thoreau and Amercian Nature Writing

The Walden Woods Project

Henry David Thoreau

Bill McKibben (Henry Holt Publishers)

Aldo Leopold Foundation

Annie Dillard

Romantic Natural History 1750-1859

Environmental Writers (ASLE)

Web Portal from Professor Nichols’s English 379

* * * * * * * * * * * *

 Course Requirements

Students will prepare two (2) discussion introductions during the semester. Students will also be active participants in a seminar conducted almost entirely as a conversation. Students will write one essay (8-10 pp.) on any chapter in Walden, giving special attention to the methodological underpinnings of their argument. Each student will also produce a longer research essay (12-15 pp.) on some aspect of our work this semester. Topics will be developed in class and in individual conferences. A draft will be discussed with me. The final essay will be due by 12 noon on Saturday, December 14. Students must complete all of these requirements in order to receive credit for the course. The Dickinson plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced.

Grading will be based on the following scale:

Participation      First Essay       Research Essay     Research
20%                  30%                    40%                    10%          =100%


Required Reading

Students will come to class prepared to discuss the following readings on the assigned days. Brief oral or written assignments may assess your preparation. In addition, each student will prepare a discussion introduction for two (2) of our classes (sign-up sheet to be circulated in class).

August

27   Introduction: Thoreau and American Nature Writing–Our Syllabus as a Text, English 403

September

3     Walden 5-137

10   Walden 137-224 & Journal 319-349

17   “Civil Disobedience,” “Walking” & apparatus

24    Library Class: Research Introduction by Elise Ferer  (FIRST ESSAY DUE)

October

1      Aldo Leopold

8     Annie Dillard

15   Peter Mattheissen

22   MIDTERM PAUSE (NO CLASS)

25   Tom Horton

November

5    (RESEARCH ABSTRACT DUE)

12     Bill McKibben

19     Ashton Nichols

26     Student Research topics (BIBLIOGRAPHY DUE)

December

3   RESEARCH & WRITING WEEK

14—Saturday—FINAL ESSAY DUE: 12:00 noon (NO LATE PAPERS ACCEPTED)

 NOTE: (404 provisional abstracts are due before you leave for break)


First Essay: Your first essay (8-10 pp.) will offer a careful analysis of any chapter from Walden. It can be a chapter that we discussed in deatail in class or any other chapter you choose. Your essay should suggest why this chapter is valuable to your understanding of the entire text. The essay should also describe the interpretive approach or approaches (formalist, textual, historical, biographical, feminist, ecocritical) that your analysis relies on and should suggest why this particular means of interpretation is helpful for our understanding of this chapter. Due at the start of class on October 1. No late papers.

 


Research Essay

The research essay is your major graded piece of work for this course. You should begin thinking about the topic for your essay as soon as possible so that your draft will be in as complete a form as possible by the time of your meeting with me. I will ask for an abstract (2 paragraphs: What will you prove? How will you prove it?) of your proposed research essay on November 1. A working annotated bibliography of research sources (consulted or considered) will be due on November 22. Drafts of your essay may be discussed with me from November 22 to December 15, and your final essay will be due at 12:00 noon on Friday, December 17. No late papers.

The Walden text chosen for use in the course is a useful starting place for your research. It includes scholarly texts, historical and biographical information, as well as collections of critical essays from various interpretive perspectives. In addition, several of our volumes provide information that can help you select a topic for your essay, focus that topic, and begin to produce your draft. Successful completion of this project will demand careful library research and thoughtful attention to the details of your own critical writing style. You will find a list of web based resources to help you with your research and writing in the on-line version of this syllabus.

http://www.dickinson.edu/~nicholsa/403f03.htm

We will also use class-time to discuss the selection of your topic, the preparation of your bibliography, and the writing of your first draft. We will use discussions of our authors to focus your critical method, and we will evaluate different approaches to interpretive problems posed by these texts. Class work will include peer discussion of topics and research tools as well as sessions for troubleshooting and problem solving as drafts are being discussed. The goal of all of our work on this essay will be to give you tools and opportunities to develop your skills as a critical writer and researcher. Sites that will help in your work as a researcher and writer of scholarly essays include:

MLA Style at the Purdue OWL (Online Writing Lab)
Finding Humanities Research Sources (Hacker)
MLA International Bibliography links
“Do Research” page at Waidner-Spahr Library

Students will also be using their work this semester to help them decide about the larger project which they plan to research in depth during our spring term 404. The general assumption is that you will use your research this semester as a jumping off point for your independent work next semester, but you may also change directions entirely until the due date of your final prospectus (January 2011). You should also be thinking about a project that would sustain the sort of work you begin this semester over the course of our full-semester worth of work in 404.

Academic Honesty:

The Dickinson plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced. This class adheres to the college’s Community Standards, which clearly state: “Students are expected to do their own work. Work submitted in fulfillment of academic assignments and provided on examinations is expected to be original by the student submitting it.” Please review the Community Standards document for more information.

Statement on Disability Services:

In compliance with the Dickinson College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss requests made by students with disabilities for academic accommodations. Such requests must be verified in advance by the Coordinator of Disability Services who will provide a signed copy of an accommodation letter, which must be presented to me prior to any accommodations being offered. Requests for academic accommodations should be made during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that timely and appropriate arrangements can be made.

Students requesting accommodations are required to register with Disability Services, located in Academic Advising, first floor of Biddle House.  Please contact Marni Jones, Coordinator of Disability Services (at ext. 1080 or jonesmar@dickinson.edu ) to verify their eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

Keep in Touch

Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time during the semester to discuss the course, our research, your writing, or your grade.

Professor Ashton Nichols, Class meetings: 1:30-4:15 p.m. Tuesday, Kaufman 178

Office Hours: M & F 9:30-11:30,  T 12 noon-1:30 p.m. and by appt.

Ashton Nichols

  
Ashton Nichols

The Walter E. Beach ’56 Distinguished Chair

in Sustainability Studies

Department of English, Dickinson College


Blogs & Websites:

Urbanature, August 2008-present

Thoreau, Wilderness, and American Nature Writing, January 2009-

A Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities (2009)

Dickinson in the Galapagos (2002-03)


Links  to Selected Class Syllabi on the Web:

English 403: Thoreau and American Nature Writing . . . . . . .Fall 2013

First-Year Seminar: Thoreau and American Nature Writing . Fall 2013

English 404: Senior Thesis: Critical Writing Workshop. . . Spring 2011

English 360: Ecocriticism . . . . . . . . . .  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Spring 2011

English 101: Small Poems, Big Ideas. . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . .Spring 2011

English 370: Romantic Orientalism and Its Critics. . . . . . Spring 2010

English 101: British and American Nature Writing. . . . . . Spring 2010

English 220: Critical Approaches and Literary Methods . . . Fall 2009

English 379: Thoreau, Wilderness, American Writing . . Spring 2009

English 403: Frankenstein and Other Romantic Monsters . Fall 2008

First-Year Seminar: The Myth of Frankenstein . . . . . . . ..Fall 2007

English 404: Senior Critical Writing Workshop. . . . . . . Spring 2004

English 403: Revolutionary Romanticism . . . . . . . . . . . . .Fall 2003

English 101: Romantic Natural History . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fall 2003

English 101: Romantics and Victorians. . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fall 2001

English 212: Writing About Nature  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Fall 1999

English 399: Wordsworth and Hardy in Hyperspace . . . . Fall 1996
Link to “Thomas Hardy’s World”


Link to Selected Essays on the Web:

1) “Thoreau and Urbanature: From Walden to Ecocriticism” Neohelicon: Actos Comparationis Literarum Universarum 36:2 (December 2009): 347-55 Budapest: Springer, 2009

2) “Romantic Ecomorphism,” “Ecomorphism and Ecoromanticism,” “Wilding and Roosting,” “Romantic Natural History,” “Emerson and Infinity,” “Urbanature.” Romantic Circles Invited Blog Posts, with Tim Morton (UC-Davis) and Kurt Fosso (Lewis and Clark). Thematic Thread: Ecocriticism, 9-12/2008.  http://www.rc.umd.edu/blog_rc/]

3)“Roaring Alligators and Burning Tygers: Poetry and Science from William Bartram to Charles Darwin”
(from The Proceedings of the American Philosophical Society 149:3 2005 )

4)“The Loves of Plants and Animals: Romantic Science and the Pleasures of Nature”
(from Romantic Circles Praxis Series on “Romantic Ecology,” November 2001)

5)“Romantic Rhinos and Victorian Vipers: The Zoo as Nineteenth-Century Spectacle”
(from A Romantic Natural History: 1750-1859)

6)“The Anxiety of Species: Toward a Romantic Natural History”
(from The Wordsworth Circle 28:3 (1997): 130-36)

7)“Hyping the Hypertext: Scholarship and the Limits of Technology”
(Loyola University Chicago electronic publications, October 1996)


Publications with Additional Web Links:

Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism: Toward Urbanatural Roosting (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011)

“Nichols offers a provocative new approach to understanding the role of humankind in a post-natural, post-industrial world. Grounded in a perceptive reading of Romantic natural history, this book moves beyond the conventional nature-versus-culture dichotomy toward a more inclusive concept of ‘urbanatural roosting.’ Along the way, Nichols makes important contributions to our scholarly understanding of British Romantic poetry, American environmentalism, and the history of science.”—James C. McKusick, author of  Green Writing: Romanticism and Ecology

“Ambitious, learned, experimental, and thoroughly readable,  Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism  posits ‘urbanatural roosting’ as a vital twenty-first-century mode of ecological thinking. Perhaps this is what the Chinese might call the ‘tian ren he yi’ (the harmonious unity of the universe and man) of the new millennium. An inspired (and inspiring) book!”—Scott Slovic, editor of  ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

“Part lyrical memoir, part literary and cultural history, part philosophical meditation, Nichols’ compelling new book is above all an eloquent, erudite, and impassioned manifesto for a new way of thinking, writing, and living more self-consciously, equitably, and sustainably on this earth. Stressing both the historicity of ‘wilderness’ and the naturality of the city, Nichols envisages the collaboration of scientific knowledge, urban design and the artistic imagination in the crafting of thriving ‘ecomorphic’ townscapes as part of a wider practice of sharing and caring for all of earth’s diverse, yet all more or less humanized places and spaces.”—Kate Rigby, Monash University and author  of Topographies of the Sacred: The Poetics of Place in European Romanticism

Romantic Natural Histories: William Wordsworth, Charles Darwin and Others (Houghton Mifflin, 2004)

  The Revolutionary “I”: Wordsworth and the Politics of Self-Presentation (Macmillan / St. Martin’s, 1998)

The Poetics of Epiphany: Nineteenth-Century Origins of the Modern Literary Moment (Alabama, 1987)

“Mumbo Jumbo: Mungo Park and the Rhetoric of Romantic Africa,” Romanticism, Race, & Imperial Culture (Indiana, 1996)
  
“Face to Face with Wild Dophins,” Sea Stories: An International Journal of Art and Writing (2006-07) 
 

“In the field there is an animal,” “Open Season,” and “Animate Nature”: poems in Terrain and Best of Terrain (2002)



Current Research:

A Romantic Natural History: 1750-1859:
A website designed to survey literary and natural history resources from the century before Charles Darwin


Curriculum Vitae (C.V.): Courses, Publications, Presentations


Return to the Dickinson College English Department Home Page
Send an e-mail message to nicholsa@dickinson.edu

Critical Approaches and Literary Methods

*   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *   *

English 220     Critical Approaches and Literary Methods      Nichols

REQUIRED TEXTS

Brontë, Charlotte. Jane Eyre: Case Studies. Ed. Beth Newman. Bedford.

Heaney, Seamus. Opened Ground: Selected Poems 1966-1996. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux.

Murfin, Ross and Supryia Ray, The Bedford Glossary of Critical and Literary Terms. Bedford.

Mayes, Frances. The Discovery of Poetry. Harcourt.

Rhys, Jean. The Wide Sargasso Sea. Norton.

Shakespeare, William. The Tempest: Case Studies. Ed. Gerald Graff. Bedford.

(You must have copies of all of these texts in these precise editions)

COURSE AIMS AND LEARNING GOALS:

This course is designed to introduce you to the variety of questions we can ask about literary texts, their authors, and their audiences. We will study a limited number of texts using a variety of critical approaches: formal, generic, reader-response, feminist, psychological, economic, ecocritical. The course will also provide closely supervised instruction in the format and basic elements of critical writing (this is a “W” course). You will be able to prepare a close reading of a literary text, a literary analysis from a stated critical approach, and you will be able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of more than one critical approach in The course is designed to prepare you for the sorts of questions you will be expected to ask and answer throughout an English major, but it is not only for future English majors. The course is designed to help you to explore your own reasons for reading, writing about, and interpreting literary texts in a variety of ways.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS:

Student participation will be a key element of this course. The small size of the class will allow us to conduct our class work on the seminar model, with students providing regular input into class discussion and in-class exercises, both written and oral. More than three (3) unexcused absences will be grounds for lowering your grade in the course. The College’s plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced. If you have questions about plagiarism, contact me directly. You must complete all of the assigned work in order to receive credit for the course. Grading is based on the following scale:

Class                    Essay #1        Essay #2        Essay #3     Take-Home Final

Participation      (poem)             (novel)             (play)              Exam

10%     20%           20%             20%       30% = 100%

Please do not hesitate to contact me at any time during the semester to discuss the course, our readings, your writing, or your grade.

ASSIGNED READINGS AND CLASS WORK:

This class will be unlike others you have had in the English Department. There will be a range of readings assigned for each day, and you will often be asked to emphasize some aspect of those readings for class work. Essays and written work will draw on your reading of all assigned material. You will revise and resubmit almost all of your writing. You will also be encouraged to read more widely than the required reading in order to fulfill the requirements and goals for the course. You will be placed in discussion groups that will regularly be asked to present specific material or questions to the class. The terms listed under the readings below will be defined progressively. You will familiarize yourself with the attached handout on “Interpretive Methods” and be able to refer to and critique these approaches as the semester proceeds. Our class will become more flexible and discussion oriented as our work progresses.

Date     Text/s       Critical Terms/Method Readings      Writing 

JANUARY 22 T Our syllabus—Our syllabus as a Text—-Our class as a Dialogue “Read” what?

25 F Heaney: 3-7 Mayes ix-xviii and 1-24, Glossary: “form,” “formalism”

_____________________________________________________________________________

29 T Heaney: 10-11, 13-14 Mayes 25-48, Glossary: “intentional fallacy”

FEBRUARY 1 F Heaney: 29-35 Mayes 66-85, Glossary: “affective fallacy”

_____________________________________________________________________________

5 T Heaney: 100-114 Mayes 85-108, Glossary: “irony,” “paradox”

8 F Mayes 138-155 ————Imagine one image

_____________________________________________________________________________

12 T Heaney: 156-165 Mayes 165-184, Glossary: “New Criticism,” “genre”

15 F Heaney: 72, 120 Mayes 184-201

_____________________________________________________________________________

 

19 T  Mayes 217-232 (“Ozymandias” handout)                 Workshop Draft of Essay #1

22 F Heaney: 214-17, 332-41  Mayes 232-45, Glossary: “poetry,” “poetic diction”

______________________________________________________________________________

26 T Heaney: 411                                                                            ESSAY #1 DUE

MARCH 1 F Brontë: 15-220

______________________________________________________________________________

5 T Brontë: 220-441

8 F Film versions of Jane Eyre

______________________________________________________________________________

12 T SPRING BREAK

15 F SPRING BREAK

______________________________________________________________________________

19 T Brontë: 445-459 Glossary: “new historicism” “ecocriticism”

22 F NO CLASS  Novel reading day   ______________________________________________________________________________

26 T Brontë: 459-633 Glossary: “feminist criticism” “reader-response criticism”

29 F Rhys: 17-61                                        ————————-Workshop Essay #2 Draft

______________________________________________________________________________

APRIL 2 T Rhys 65-190 Glossary: “Marxist Criticism”

5 F  NO CLASS Research Day for Essay #2

______________________________________________________________________________

9 T What is a Novel? Glossary: “novel”  ————————————-ESSAY #2 Due

12 F Shakespeare Act I-II

______________________________________________________________________________

16 T Shakespeare Act III-IV

19 F Shakespeare Act V

______________________________________________________________________________

23 T Shakespeare 91-116, 246-254 Glossary: “gender criticism,” “feminist criticism”

26 F Shakespeare 203-229, 255-268, 323-349, Glossary: “poststructuralism,” “postcolonial”

______________________________________________________________________________

30 T Exam writing (favorite Heaney poem, favorite Shakespeare scene)———ESSAY #3 DUE

MAY 3 F Last Class and Discussion of Take-Home Final Exam (Class evaluation)

______________________________________________________________________________

Monday, May 13, 12 noon (NO LATE EXAMS): Take home final due in KAUFMAN 192

______________________________________________________________________________

Professor Ashton Nichols, Class 1:30-2:45 p.m, T & F, Kaufman 178

Office Hours: W 2-4 p.m., F 10 a.m.-12 noon (and by appointment)

Academic Honesty

The Dickinson plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced. This class adheres to the college’s Community Standards, which clearly state: “Students are expected to do their own work. Work submitted in fulfillment of academic assignments and provided on examinations is expected to be original by the student submitting it.” Please review the Community Standards document for more information. Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you may have about citation, documentation, or academic honesty.

Statement on Disability Services

In compliance with the Dickinson College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss requests made by students with disabilities for academic accommodations. Such requests must be verified in advance by the Coordinator of Disability Services who will provide a signed copy of an accommodation letter, which must be presented to me prior to any accommodations being offered. Requests for academic accommodations should be made during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that timely and appropriate arrangements can be made.

Students requesting accommodations are required to register with Disability Services, located in Academic Advising, first floor of Biddle House. Please contact Marni Jones, Coordinator of Disability Services (at ext. 1080 or  jonesmar at dickinson.edu ) to verify their eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

Interpretive Methods: A Primer for 220

Critical approaches are not cookie-cutters placed over a text. Effective interpretations draw on more than one approach in order to develop an argument. Every one of the categories below overlaps with others in important ways. Less useful interpretations force the text into narrowly methodological readings; such reductive interpretations always weaken an argument by leaving it open to objections from other points of view. The following categories, however, represent ways that literary critics and theorists have been talking about texts for the past half-century. Your own reading and writing about literature should reflect the ways that you give emphasis to various sorts of questions that can be asked about texts.

Textual (Philological): this form of analysis emphasizes the physical text as an object of study. Is there still a manuscript copy of the work in the author’s handwriting? Are there conflicting manuscript versions? Can we date this work? How? How did the author or editor revise the work over time and in different editions? How might these questions influence our understanding of the text?

New Critical: a form of reading that stresses our ability to analyze a literary text without considering the circumstances surrounding its production. Such reading de-emphasizes the author and the historical context in favor of a “pure” analysis of language as language: tropes, symbols, metaphors, allusions, metrics, narrative structure. A “great” work is then seen as one that exemplifies certain identifiable characteristics: unity, complexity, subtlety, allusiveness. Sometimes identified with “close” reading.

Historicist/New Historicist: traditional forms of historicism emphasize the importance of historical “background” to the understanding of literature. The more a reader knows about the time and place in which a work was produced, the more effective will be that reader’s interpretations of the text. So-called “new” historicism argues that history itself is much less stable than we thought because our understanding of the past is always conditioned by our mediator (the historian) and by our own subjective position in a complex, multivalent culture.

Biographical: reading that emphasizes the author as a key to understanding the text. Such interpretations see the author’s childhood, education, family background, social class, and life experiences as important critical considerations. Traditional biographical readings tend to see authors as “products” of their times. More recent authorial critiques tend to stress the psychology of the author as a key to literary interpretation. Did the author long for a “mother”? Did the author hate a “father”? What did the author hide? Do we identify with the author’s life?

Psychological (Freudian): such readings see psychological categories and terms–conscious, subconscious, ego, id, superego, Oedipal, repression, transference–as important ways of talking about literature. They may focus on the psychology of the author, the characters/voices in the text, or the reader, seeking to explain plots, imagery, and authorial intention in terms of an analysis of mental events. For such interpretations the “hidden” aspects of a work are often more important than the “obvious.”

Economic (Marxist): Marxist interpretations emphasize the economic and material conditions of all human activity. Such readings claim that literary works are a function of the material circumstances of the author (rich or poor) and the economy of the author’s society (feudal, mercantile, capitalist, socialist). Such readings also stress the role of literature in hiding or revealing class distinctions and the need for political change.

Reception/Reader Response: discussions of responses produced by a text on its audience. Such critiques might discuss acceptance or rejection of a work by the reading public over time, reception by contemporary critics, or the current state of criticism of a text. Reception theory also analyzes and interprets the process of reading itself? What does it mean to “read” a work? What does it mean to “misread” the same work? Could we read disinterestedly?

Deconstructive: de(con)structive readings set out to reveal the linguistic tensions in a literary text. They also want to argue that all language is less st(able) than we often assume. Does “light” always imply, contain, or implicate “dark”? Does a seemingly unified text contain contradictions? How might a poem about the beauty of nature actually reveal the author’s own confusions about his pre/con/re-ceptions. Do certain words hide a much as they reveal? Do we find “true” meaning or make our own meanings? Is there “Meaning,” or are they only “meanings”?

Feminist: such readings stress the fact that women and men have different sorts of experiences–including linguistic experiences–or point out similarities across gender boundaries. Feminist interpretations might draw attention to the fact that the author was male or female, or to varying responses by male and female readers. Such readings also tend to emphasize the history of gender relationships as a key to understanding the text. At the most theoretical level a feminist reading argues that language itself is male or female (i.e. based on certain gendered assumptions).

Cultural Studies: a form of criticism that sees literary works not as the products of “genius” authors, but rather as artifacts of the cultures in which they were produced and in which they are interpreted. Cultural studies also incorporates the records of societies–imaged, photographs, films, clothing, objects–into the concept of “text,” arguing that to read a text is to read the culture in which it was produced and also the culture in which readers are performing the act of interpretation.

Ecocriticism: a recent form of interpretation that has emerged out of emphasis on the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Ecocritics emphasize the role played by nonhuman nature in a wide range of literary texts. They also interrogate the ways that human interactions with nature (plants, animals, geology, landscapes) have affected human life and the natural world. Many ecocritics have environmentalist or preservationist agendas; others are more interested in the philosophical and cultural implications of human understanding of and impact on the natural environment.

—————————Ecocriticism———————

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English 360                             Ecocriticism                                  Nichols

Required Texts:

Ecocriticism by Greg Garrard. Routledge. 978-0-415-19692-5

Beyond Romantic Ecocriticism. Ed. Ashton Nichols, 978-113-7033994

Walden by Henry David Thoreau. G. W. Zouck. 978-0-9817315-0-6

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Norton Critical Edition. Paul Hunter Ed., 978-0393964585

The Ecocriticism Reader. Ed. Glotfelty & Fromm U of Georgia P 978-082031781-6

Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy. Norton Edition. Ed. Scott Elledge, 978-0393959031

The End of Nature by Bill McKibben. Random House. 978-0-8129-7608-3

Poetry for the Earth. Ed. Sara Dunn & Alan Scholefield. Ballantine, 978-0449905999

(–class handouts and assigned web readings: especially Shellenberger, Orr, and McKibben)

 

Course Aims and Learning Goals:

Ecocriticism is a recent form of literary and cultural interpretation that has emerged out of emphasis on the relationship between humans and the natural environment. Ecocritics emphasize the role played by nonhuman nature in a wide range of texts, literary and otherwise. They also interrogate the ways that human interactions with nature (plants, animals, geology, landscapes) have affected human life and the natural world. Many ecocritics have environmentalist or preservationist agendas; others are more interested in the philosophical and cultural implications of human understanding of and impact on the natural environment. We will set literary works in dialogue with scientists and nature writers of the past two centuries and will examine the current importance (as well as the controversial aspects) of ecocritical ideas. We will emphasize the role played by literature in the development of our own assumptions and values. We will work to answer a series of questions about the relationship between the natural world and the human beings who have defined and affected that world. In addition, we will take advantage of the opportunities afforded by the “Living Well in a World of Limits” events sponsored by the Clarke Forum and CSE this term: three remarkable environmentalist visitors—Michael Shellenberger, David Orr, and Bill McKibben—and their lectures as well as related activities.

Over the course of the semester, students will demonstrate their ability as close readers and will also hone their research skills (abstract, annotated bibliography, research paper) in preparation for work in English 403 and 404.

Course Requirements

Students will come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings for each day. Discussion will form a central part of class work, and students will sign up for two (2) discussion introductions based on our weekly reading schedule. Students will be evaluated on the basis of class participation, two critical essays (8-10 pp., 12-15 pp.), and a comprehensive take-home final exam. Your first essay will ask you to select a chapter from Urbanatural Roosting and offer your own ecocritical close reading. Your second essay will ask you to write a research essay that explains why ecocriticism is a useful method of literary criticism in the 21st century. Class participation will include written exercises and discussion introductions. Two (2) unexcused absences will be grounds for lowering your grade in the course. The first essay will allow you to work closely with a single text; the second will require that you provide a critical context for research into works by several authors. Assignment sheets for both essays will be distributed at least three weeks before the essay due dates. You will also be asked to attend at least two (2) of the  “World of Limits” visitors we have this term and then critique one (1) of their talks in relation to the readings we are doing this semester. The class will emphasize research skills and methods useful for scholarly research and writing, both in class and through your work with the C.A.L.M. Lab workshop (only if this is your first 300-level course). The comprehensive final exam will be entirely composed of essay questions.

Grading will be based on the following percentages: Students must complete all of this assigned work in order to pass the course:

Class participation (10) Discuss Intros.(10) Essay 1 (20) Essay 2 (30) Final Exam (30) = 100%

Reading Schedule and Class Meetings

JANUARY 21 M Our syllabus—Our syllabus as a Text—-Our class as a Dialogue

24 H Nichols 49-52, 80-81, 152-63 William Blake: “The Fly,” “The Tyger,” “The Lamb, ”Garrard “Beginnings: Pollution” 1-16

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28 M Nichols, 3-4, 11-14, 95-96, Wordsworth: “Westminster Bridge,” “Nutting,” “The World is Too Much with Us” Garrard “Positions”: 16-33

29 Tuesday: “Love Your Monsters,” Michael Shellenberger, Stern Great Room, 7:00 p.m.

31  H Nichols, 14-25, 96-97, 153 Coleridge: “Kubla Khan,” “The Eolian Harp” Garrard “Pastoral”: 33-59; Beevers and Petersen, rev. of Shellenberger and Nordhaus, Breakthrough

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FEBRUARY 4 M Nichols, 22-27, 124-27, 146-48 Shelley: “On Love,” “Death,” “The Cloud,” “ Ode to the West Wind” Garrard: “Wilderness”: 59-85

7 H Nichols, 27-28, 98-99, 114-118 Keats: “To Autumn,” “Ode to a Nightingale” Garrard “Apocalypse”: 85-108

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11 M Nichols, see index to BRE:TUR Mary Shelley, Frankenstein vii-xii Garrard “Dwelling”: 108-136

14  H Frankenstein 1-58, Garrard “Animals”: 136-160

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18 M Frankenstein: 59-102

21 H Frankenstein: 103-end

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25  M Workshop draft of ESSAY #1

28 H Frankenfilms (Nichols)

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MARCH 4 M Essay #1 due (ecocritical close reading of one chapter section from Urbanatural Roosting)

7 H Nichols, Tennyson: 107-09 and Darwin: 38-42, 132-33, 181-83, Garrard “Futures: The Earth”: 160-183

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11 M Spring Break

14 H Spring Break

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18 M Thoreau: 5-127, Glotfelty, xv-xxxvii: “Introduction”

21 H NO CLASS Keep reading Thoreau: 129-284, Glotfelty, Manes: “Nature and Silence” and Orr, The Oberlin Project

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25 M Thoreau: 285-end, Glotfelty, Fromm: “Transcendence to Obsolescence”

27 Wednesday, “Designing Resilience in a Black Swan,” David Orr 7:00 p.m. ATS

28 H Tess: 1-79 Glotfelty, White: “The Historical Roosts of Our Ecologic Crisis”

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APRIL 1 M Tess: 79-178, Glotfelty, Turner: “Cultivating,” Research abstract for Essay #2 due

4 H Tess: 178-239, Glotfelty, Howarth: “Some Principles of Ecocriticism”

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8 M  McKibben, The End of Nature, Part I

11 H The End of Nature, Part II; “Terrifying New Math” BILL MCKIBBEN IN CLASS

11 Thursday, “Front Line of the Climate Fight,” Bill McKibben

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15 M Tess: 239-289, Glotfelty, Rueckert: “Literature and Ecology” (annot. biblio. for Essay #2 due)

18 H Tess: 289-end and Darwin (in Tess edition): 422-51

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22 M Poetry for the Earth: 11-12, 26-27, 33, 43-44, 56-62, 74-75, 108, 123-128, 151, 192-194; Glotfelty, Allen: “The Sacred Hoop”

25 H Poetry 3, 14, 15, 18, 32, 46-7, 102-105, 142-44, 171, 175-79, 208,Glotfelty, Kolodny: “Herstory”; Phillips: “Is Nature necessary?”

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29 M Course summary and Exam writing; identifications, short answers, essay questions)

MAY 2 H Discussion of Take-Home Final Exam ESSAY #2 DUE

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Tuesday: May 7, 5:00 p.m. (NO LATE EXAMS): Take home final exam due in KAUFMAN 192

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ENG 300 – C.A.L.M. Lab

If this is your first (and only if it is your first) 300-level literature course in the English Department, you will be required to complete ENG 300 – C.A.L.M. Lab: the Critical Approaches and Literary Methods Laboratory. (Exception: English 339 classes, The Craft of Poetry and the Craft of the Short Story DO NOT require CALM Lab.) This research module, allows students to apply their  work in English 220 into research and writing expectations for 300-level courses. C.A.L.M. Lab adopts current best-practices for using Dickinson’s library resources; it helps students understand  the tools, application, and proper MLA citation for all research in the English Department. Students will be taught how to shape a research prospectus, find materials in our electronic databases, and properly annotate sources in an MLA Works Cited bibliography.
C.A.L.M. Lab takes place over 2 sessions lasting about 50 minutes each. Students enrolled in C.A.L.M. lab must visit the course’s Moodle site to sign up for attendance. The Information Commons in the lower level of Waidner-Spahr Library has been confirmed for all sessions.
You should have received further information about C.A.L.M. Lab from Christine Bombaro, library liaison to the English Department. Email: Christine Bombaro if you have questions. The course is also outlined on Moodle.

Academic Honesty

The Dickinson plagiarism policy will be strictly enforced. This class adheres to the college’s Community Standards, which clearly state: “Students are expected to do their own work. Work submitted in fulfillment of academic assignments and provided on examinations is expected to be original by the student submitting it.” Please review the Community Standards document for more information. Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you may have about citation, documentation, or academic honesty.

Statement on Disability Services

In compliance with the Dickinson College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss requests made by students with disabilities for academic accommodations. Such requests must be verified in advance by the Coordinator of Disability Services who will provide a signed copy of an accommodation letter, which must be presented to me prior to any accommodations being offered. Requests for academic accommodations should be made during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances) so that timely and appropriate arrangements can be made.

Students requesting accommodations are required to register with Disability Services, located in Academic Advising, first floor of Biddle House. Please contact Marni Jones, Coordinator of Disability Services (at ext. 1080 or Marni Jones) to verify their eligibility for reasonable and appropriate accommodations.

Ecocriticism: Questions to Consider

Are human beings just the result of random evolutionary processes? Is that all they are?

“Be fruitful and multiply.”–Is that a good idea or a waste? Does evolution conflict with the religious teachings of Christianity? Can the two viewpoints be reconciled? Why does Christianity say that God cannot be a part of the natural world?

Why has “nature” had such a powerful impact on poets and novelists over the past 150 years?

When do poets and scientists think in similar ways? When do they think in different ways?

Is AIDS natural? Is spinal bifida? Is death? Is nature “good”? Is anything “natural” ever “evil”?

What the Writers Have Said About Nature

“In looking at the objects of Nature while I am thinking, as at yonder moon dim-gleaming through the dewy window-pane, I seem rather to be seeking, as it were asking for, a symbolical language for something within me that already and for ever exists, than observing anything new. Even when the latter is the case, yet still I have always an obscure feeling as if that new phenomena were a dim awakening of a forgotten or hidden truth of my inner nature.” (1805)–Coleridge, Anima Poetae

“A Poet is the most unpoetical of any thing in existence; because he has no Identity–he is continually in for–and filling some other Body–The Sun, the Moon, the Sea and Men and Women who are creatures of impulse are poetical and have about them an unchangeable attribute–the poet has none; no identity–” Keats, Letters

“How much virtue there is in simply seeing! . . . We are as much as we see . . . Every child begins the world again. . . I saw this familiar–too familiar–fact at a different angle, and I was charmed and haunted by it . . . Only what we have touched and worn is trivial,–our scurf, repetition, tradition, conformity. To perceive freshly, with fresh senses, is to be inspired . . . The age of miracles is each moment thus returned.” –Thoreau, Works

“In a Romantic poem the realm of the ideal is always observed as precarious–liable to vanish or move beyond one’s reach at any time. Central Romantic poems like “Ode to a Nightingale” or “La Belle Dame Sans Merci” typify this situation in the Romantic poem, which characteristically haunts, as Geoffrey Hartman has observed, borderlands and liminal territories. These are Romantic places because they locate areas of contradiction, conflict, and problematic alternatives.” –Jerome McGann, The Romantic Ideology

Professor Ashton Nichols: Kaufman 192 &EC 305         Class meetings: 1:30 M H

Office Hours: W 2-4, F 10-12 noon and by appt.            Classroom: Rector / Stuart

Natural History Mosaic Independent Research/Independent Study

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Natural History Mosaic

Independent Research/Independent Study

 Fall 2012

(A course in the Natural History Mosaic Program)

Course Aims and Expectations:

This credit—the 4th of your credits for the Natural History mosaic—will allow you to deepen you knowledge of one of our topics under the guidance of one or two professors. You will pick a topic during the first week of the semester, refine that topic during the early weeks of the semester, and then spend the remainder of the fall term preparing your final research or study project. The course will also provide an opportunity for peer editing and comment as well as regular interactions with your supervising professor/s.

Requirements:

Because of the faculty teaching assignments for the semester, seven of you will work primarily with Professor Nichols, two each primarily with Professors Key and Wingert. Those of you who know that your topics are primarily scientific (lab based, primary research, specimens, data collection and analysis) will need to decide whether your focus leans toward paleontology and marine biology (Professor Key or terrestrial biology and environmental science (Professor Wingert). Those of you whose work will fall in the disciplines of history, literature, cultural studies—and the like—will automatically work with Professor Nichols. A number of you may by assigned to Prof. Nichols but consult regularly with Prof. Key or Wingert.

Possible Independent Study Projects

Independent Study is a broad, literature-based investigation involving synthesis of already published literature and write up based on your own thesis statement and careful textual research. Possible ideas might include:

Prof. Nichols:

–history of a museum (Smithsonian, Carnegie) or collection within a museum (animal halls, fossils, rocks and minerals)

–critical biography of an author (Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard)

–history of several natural history books or a series of field guides (Peterson Series, National Geographic, Audubon)

–essay about H. D. Thoreau (as a naturalist or a writer) or a more general biography

–architectural and/or historical study of the Joseph Priestley House 1794-1804

–essay about John James Audubon: his life, his fieldwork, his artistry

Prof. Key:

–the role of mass extinction in the history of biodiversity

– was T. rex a predator or a scavenger

– some aspect of the evolution of humans

– develop a new display on paleontology, evolution, or biodiversity (or a combination) for our new Kaufman museum

Possible Independent Research Projects:

 Independent Research is a focused investigation involving actual specimens, data collection, data analysis, and write up. Possible ideas might include:

Prof. Key:

– biology or ecology of estuarine animals (e.g., Chesapeake Bay blue crab)

– evolutionary or paleoecological process (e.g., relationship of shark tooth shape to ease of penetration or mammal stride length vs. speed

–paleoenvironmental interpretation of clam fossil slab by modeling of clam shell behavior in a wave tank)

Prof. Wingert:

– comparison of barn owl diet with long-eared owl

– nitrogen comparison of two streams: one stream in a deer impacted area and the other in a healthy forest

– egg counts in Gray tree frog females

– macro assessment of three streams: one in a residential area, the other in agricultural area, and a control stream in a forested environment

You will pick a topic that will be approved by the professors by Friday August 31 and fill out the necessary registration form for the Registrar. This class will have regularly scheduled meeting times—9:00 a.m. Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. Friday–but it will only use that time for the first several weeks of class. Then you will be working largely on your own and with individual meetings with your assigned professor (seven with Professor Nichols, two each with Professors Key and Wingert). We may have borderline research/study projects that will be shared between professors. We will keep these time slots open for individual meetings as the semester progresses.

August 29 9 a.m.  What is an Independent Study or Research Project: How does it work?

31  1:30 p.m. Final decision and registration for your Independent Research/Study course

September 5 9 a.m. First meeting to plan schedules for semester

7   1:30 p.m. Individual meeting with professors

12  9 a.m. Individual meetings with professors

c. November 28  15 minute oral presentations

November 30 F  First draft of Independent Study/Research project due

December 14  F Final  version due

Let us know if you have questions.

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

Dickinson College makes reasonable academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. I am available to discuss the implementation of those accommodations.  Students requesting accommodations must first register with Disability Services to verify their eligibility. After documentation review, Marni Jones, Director of Learning Skills and Disability Services, will provide eligible students with accommodation letters for their professors. Students must obtain a new letter every semester and meet with each relevant professor prior to any accommodations being implemented.  These meetings should occur during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances), and at least one week before any testing accommodations. Disability Services is located in Biddle House. Address inquiries to Stephanie Anderberg at 717-245-1734 or email disabilityservices@dickinson.edu. For more information, see the Disability Serviceswebsite: www.dickinson.edu/disabilityservices.

 

The Natural History Mosaic: English 212 and Independent Study/Research

Thanks to Tony Moore–Dickinson writer and editor–for several great news stories about the Mosaic:

Mosaic Classes:

http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/dickinson-magazine/online-features/2012-13/Mosaic-Afield/

Crabs and Ooker on the Bay:

http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/dickinson-magazine/online-features/2012-13/Crabbing-with-Ooker/

Fossils in the Quarry:

http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/dickinson-magazine/online-features/2012-13/King-Phillip-Came-Over-for-Good-Soup/

Hawks and Eagles on the Ridge:

http://www.dickinson.edu/news-and-events/publications/dickinson-magazine/online-features/2012-13/Raptor-Shadows-on-the-Sleeping-Blue-Lady/

and here is how it all started:

http://www.dickinson.edu/uploadedFiles/centers/community_studies/content/Natural

20History20Sustainability20Mosaic[1].pdf

Students collect butterflies and other insects outside of the new CSE (Center for Sustainability Education) offices at Dickinson College, under the guidance of Prof. Gene Wingert

           Writing About Natural History

     

                       (Part of the Natural History Mosaic Program)

 

The group gathers beneath Tyrannosaurus rex, one of the largest terrestrial predators in the history of life on earth. He seems to have been able to eat up to 500 pounds of food in a single bite.

Required Texts:

Hacker, Diana. A Pocket Style Manual 5e.

Harrison, Ralph. The Elk of Pennsylvania.

Leopold, Also. A Sand County Almanac.

Warner, William. Beautiful Swimmers.

Welch, Craig. Shell Games.

Fergus,Charles. Wildlife of Pennsylvania.

Your last name, first name. Natural History Field Notebook.

Online dictionaries: Oxford English for advanced definitions: http://www.oed.com

Merriam-Webster for regular use: http://www.britannica.com/  Dickinson website.

Handouts and required written classroom exercises

Are “wild” animals different when seen in sight of human habitation?

 Course Aims and Expectations:

This course is designed to improve your skills as a writer of expository prose by emphasizing the genre of natural history writing. We will concentrate on a variety of writing problems and techniques, emphasizing specific skills necessary to a wide range of writing tasks: description, summary, narration, argumentation, analysis, and interpretation. In all cases, our focus will be on the natural world, natural history, and human connections to that world. Our numerous field trips to museums and field experiences in the wilds of Pennsylvania will form the basis of much of our writing. You will keep your own natural history journal that begins today and ends on the final day of classes, when it will be handed in; this journal will record, analyze, and otherwise create an experiential and intellectual document of your experiences with the nonhuman world during our entire semester. So, some of your writing will take place in the field or near the field, some more of it in the library or at your desk. Discussions of essay reading assignments will be supplemented by group workshop sessions and individual tutorials. Students will have the opportunity to critique one another’s work and to compare their essays to works by natural history writers of the past and present. The course aims to concentrate your attention on the precise stylistic details that lead to effective writing.

Why is it that human beings like to preserve and present dead animal bodies “as if” they were alive?

 Essay Requirements:

–All essays must be typed: one-inch margins & double-spaced

–Assignments will specify a precise length for each essay

–Essays must be stapled or paper-clipped together

–Title page must include title, the author’s name, and the due date

–Essays due in class at 2:00 p.m. on the syllabus indicated date

–NO LATE PAPERS (or drafts) WILL BE ACCEPTED

Certain wild creatures, like the iconic snowy owl from Harry Potter, become powerful cultural symbols for entire generations. Professor Nichols saw seven (7!) of these remarkable birds in a rare “eruption” near the Flathead Indian reservation in Western Montana, far from their usual range nearer the Arctic.

Web Sites for Nature Writers

Dickinson Writing Center

English Department Writing Guidelines

Online Resources for Writers

Virginia Commonwealth University Nature Writing Web Links

 Grading:

Grades will be based on the following distribution:

Essay   1    2    3    4       Revision   In-Class   Journal   Exam-revision    Writing 
    :                    .          10  10  10  10             20            10          10               20              = 100%

Students must complete all of these requirements in order to receive credit for the course.

 Class Meetings, Readings, & Essay Due dates: 
(T Th 2:00 p.m., K 152)

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August 27: First class meeting of full Mosaic 10 a.m.-12 noon. Kaufman 152

28 Tu Syllabus and in-class writing exercise: what is “nature”? what is “natural history”?

Students measure forearms and heights in order to compare Homo sapiens with other creatures to whom we are related: those with a spine and with a radius and an ulna (or comparable bones).

30 Th   Essay #1 due (a natural object: assignment sheet attached). Provisional grade is dropped if it goes up on September 14 version (see below).

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September 
  4 Tu   Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac. xiii-xix, pp. 3-137. What is good nature writing?

6 Th    In-class exercise (sentences from student essays). Hacker & Sommers, “Clarity,” pp. 1-18

Recently hatched stinkpot turtles (coincidentally, one for each student) will soon be released back into a pond in the “wilds” of Wildwood in Central Pennsylvania.

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11 Tu  Hacker & Sommers, “Grammar,” pp. 19-53, Aldo Leopold, pp. 138 to end

14 Th  Essay #1 revised (a natural object). Hand in for a final grade. Workshop.

15  Saturday SUSQUEHANNA RIVER TRIP

Mosaic students on the Susquehanna clean-up with the local chapter of the Sierra Club.

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18 Tu CHESAPEAKE BAY TRIP (be reading and finish Beautiful Swimmers)

Captain Wes, after decades as a waterman on the Bay (out of Smith Island), shows the students the intricacies of the crab-pot, before baiting and setting.

20 Th  CHESAPEAKE BAY TRIP (discuss Beautiful Swimmers)

Paige Sanford of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF) discusses the fish menhaden’s remarkable adaptations: mouth size, eye-spot, v-tail, and more.

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25 T     Vocabulary. Bring natural history journal to class with Bay writing. Hacker & Sommers, “Punctuation,” pp. 55-74

A dubious student receives a “crab-hat,” thanks to vigorous grabbing by the Chesapeake Bay blue crab; Professor Wingert looks on with concern.

27 Th    Read and bring The Elk of Pennsylvania booklet to class for discussion  * * *  Whistlestop Bookshop Reading, Prof. Nichols 4:30 p.m. * * *

28 Fr   ELK COUNTY TRIP

A remarkable photo, in which a bull elk mistakes a bronze statue for a rival and attacks. Nature and culture, together again. (PA-DCNR)

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October 
2  Tu SMITHSONIAN, D.C., Trip. Pick a single exhibit space (write a two-page journal description of why the display is effective for the viewer)

Students have the rare experience of a behind-the-scenes tour with David Bohaska in the Vertebrate Paleontology department at the Smithsonian; they were treated to an up-close-and-personal tour of T. rex, Triceratops, Apatosaurus fossils, and many others in the deep basement of the museum.

How does it feel to lean against a shelf in the Smithsonian basement and suddenly notice what it contains: (Montana, Tyrannosaurus rex toe bones, United States National Museum). Very cool!

4 Th  NO CLASS  Essay # 2 due (narration) (submit electronically to me by 3:15 p.m.)

One drawer behind the Smithsonian scenes contains this remarkable piece of mammoth skin and fur. Thawed out from a glacier that held it for many millennia, this specimen allowed Dickinson students and professors to touch an organic piece of evolutionary history.

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9 Tu    In-class exercise: “To see the wind with a man his eyes.” Hacker & Sommers, “Mechanics,” pp. 76-87

Titanoboa, the largest (prehistoric) snake ever discovered, was 50 feet long and weighed more than a ton when he roamed the jungles of South America more than 50 million years ago. His vertebrae dwarf those of any living snake, and he could gobble up full-sized crocodilians without ill effects. He was discovered in a fantastic fossil-site full of turtles–as big as a living-room rug–and post-dinosaur lizards much larger than any alive today.

11 Th  Charles Fergus, Wildlife of Pennsylvania. Pick a single CAPITALIZED SECTION from this book [ex. COYOTE, ELK, PUDDLE DUCKS, WILD TURKEY, LAND SALAMANDERS, POND AND MARSH TURTLES, WATER SNAKE]). At the start of class hand in a single double-spaced page about why this entry in Fergus’s book is well-written, using examples of language as details; then be prepared with notes to tell the class why your entry is well-written.

A Triceratops skull towers in the unbelievable basement of the Smithsonian.

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16 T    FALL PAUSE (No Class)

18 Th  Craig Welch, Shell Games. 1-115 Discuss

Trilobites were one of the most widespread and successful creatures ever to live on earth. They roamed the seas for over two hundred million years, finally disappearing as part of a mass extinction as the Permian era ended. Today, they remain only as fossil specimens in museums, private collections, and numerous geological sites around the world.

19 F   STATE MUSEUM IN HARRISBURG

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23 T   Craig Welch, Shell Games 116-240. Hacker & Sommers,  “Research,” pp. 88-103

The Mosaic class caught three large snapping turtles during its project to protect the painted turtle from the slider. As a recent paper notes: “Sliders [have been] released from captivity, mainly as a result of the pet trade. Sliders are aggressive omnivores and are likely to compete for food, nest sites and basking sites with many species of native aquatic and terrestrial turtles.”*

25 Th  Your field journal as a text. Bring you best paragraph, typed with copies for 12.

26 F   HAWK-WATCH AT WAGGONER’S GAP

The Waggoner’s Gap rock-pile, one of the premier hawk watching sites on Pennsylvania’s spine of the Appalachian Mountains. No experience equals the sight of a peregrine falcon or a golden eagle coming in low along the ridge, racing south on the winds of autumn.

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28 S    JOSEPH PRIESTLEY’S HOUSE IN NORTHUMBERLAND, PA

The Joseph Priestley House in Northumberland, PA, just up the Susquehanna River from Dickinson College. This drawing–the Lambourne Plan (1800)–was only rediscovered in 1983 in the Royal Society Archives in London; the house remains substantially the same today. It contains the laboratory in which Priestley identified carbon monoxide and the room that once housed his library of over 1,500 volumes, one of the largest in America at the time.

Priestley’s apparatus, some of which is now on display in the Archives of Dickinson College.

29 M   PITTSBURGH: PHIPP’S CONSERVATORY (ARBORETUM)

The Carnegie Museum not only has T. rex skeletons; it has THE T. rex skeleton: the holotype, the skeleton example from which Tyrannosaurus rex (“tyrant lizard king”) was named back in 1905. We were lucky enough to be able to touch the serrated teeth and jaw of that remarkable fossil.

30 T    PITTSBURGH: CARNEGIE MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

Living birds are not related to dinosaurs; they ARE dinosaurs. The DNA record and other morphological evidence about the origin of feathers, warm-bloodedness, and other characteristics (look at any bird’s claws, its skin, and its skeleton) prove this beyond debate.

Dr. Dave Berman, the Carnegie Museum’s Permian tetrapod expert, shows us the oldest bipedal creature on earth, a specimen (white box) he and his colleagues discovered at a quarry in Germany.

31 W   PITTSBURGH: NATIONAL AVIARY

Steller’s sea-eagle, the largest eagle in the world, as close up as the class was able to see him at the National Aviary in Pittsburgh.

November 1 Th  Essay #3 due: analyze Warner’s or Welch’s style. Animal rights: class positions, debate and discuss

Feeding time in the rain forest at the aviary; a little worm on the extended palm is all it takes.

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6 T    Essay (bring draft notes for Essay #4) Hacker & Sommers, Glossaries, pp. 259-278

8 Th  NO CLASS  Critique with a classmate or visit the Writing Center.

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13 T    Aldo Leopold, Sand County Almanac. xiii-xix, pp. 3-137. Link to your own experiences this term. In-class writing.

The ur-text, the foundational document, of all modern American nature writing.

15 Th  Aldo Leopold, pp. 138 to end. Link to what you have learned this term. Discuss.

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20 T    FINAL CLASS Essay #4 due (animal rights: interpretation)

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The day may come when the rest of the animal creation may acquire those rights which never could have been witholden from them but by the hand of tyranny.  .  .  . “The question is not “Can they reason?” nor, “Can they talk?” but, “Can they suffer?”                                                   –Jeremy Bentham (1789)

Jeremy Bentham, founder of utilitarian philosophy and an early animal rights advocate. Here is Bentham’s “auto-icon” (his “skeletonized” remains plus a wax head, preserved forever in the lobby of University College London). Bentham suggested that such a utilitarian use of his dead body would be helpful to future college decision makers; they could look at this suit of clothes–inhabited by the remains of the great man–and think, “What would Jeremy do?” Surely one of the strangest natural history specimens in the world.                                           (Photo credit: Michael Reeve)

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22 Th  Thanksgiving (No Class)

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29 Th  1st Revision Due in Kaufman 192 2:00 P.M. (Essays 2-4)

30 Fr  Draft of IR/IS projects due

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December 13 Th  FINAL EXAM (2nd Revision) Kaufman 192 by 5:00 p.m.

14 Friday Final IR/IS due FINAL MOSAIC DINNER

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Professor Ashton Nichols Kaufman 192, East College 305.

What about “animals” that are tens of millions–or hundreds of millions–of years old?

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 Essay #1

 A Natural Object 

Spend at least one uninterrupted hour observing a natural object. The object can be large (star, sun, cloud, mountain), small (grain of sand, flower, ant, leaf) or in between (stream, tree, turkey vulture, rock). Your object should be one that had not been shaped or visibly affected by humans. You should observe it as carefully as possible. Do not engage in any other activity (conversation, writing, reading, etc.) during your observation. No Walkmans allowed!

What did you learn as a result of this experience? Write a 750-1,000 word (three to four typed pages) essay that explains to the members of our class what you knew at the end of this hour that you did not know before your observation began. Write with care and attention to the precise details of your experience. Your essay should have a thesis (a central controlling idea) and a clear organizational principle (chronological, psychological association, logical progression). Avoid errors of grammar, syntax, and spelling. Proofread you work carefully.

This essay is due at the start of class on Thursday, August 30, at 2:00 p.m. It should be typed, double-spaced, and should have a title page that includes a title that you have composed, your name, and the date

NO LATE PAPERS WILL BE ACCEPTED

Sometimes creatures–like this eye-spotted luna moth–are appreciated by humans primarily aesthetically: for their physical beauty, their incredible colors, or shapes, or sizes. Notice the ragged tears on the wing-edges, signs of the wear-and-tear of normal life in the field.* (*selected photos thanks to Emily Stanley)

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Sometimes it is hard to believe that the colors of living things are all “natural.”*

NATURAL HISTORY FIELD JOURNAL

For our “Writing About Natural History” class, you will keep your own natural history journal. It begins today and ends on the final day of classes, when it will be handed in to me. This journal will describe, narrate, analyze, interpret and otherwise create an experiential and intellectual record of your experiences with the nonhuman world during our entire semester. This field journal will have no length requirement; it must, however, be complete. Do not let us find that you have no entry about our trip to the Chesapeake Bay. Do not give your readers half-a-page about the largest herd of elk east of the Mississippi. This journal should accompany you on all of our trips away from Dickinson and Carlisle.

You are encouraged to share your journal with your classmates, with other students, with professors, or with your family. You should feel free to ask me for advice or suggestions during the term, and you should feel free to copy “commonplace” selections into your your own journal (from Thoreau or Annie Dillard Emerson, from Wordsworth or William Warner); just make sure that you always indicate when the words you write are not your own. Consider all of our texts, classes, and discussions as source material for your own journal writing. Writing is a social and cultural practice. Your own writing always benefits when you see yourself as part of a reading and writing group of interested literate individuals.

I may collect these journals at any time during the semester. I may ask to see the journal—individually or collectively—at any time. I may ask you to read aloud from your journal on any day our class meets. I may ask you to make use of your journal for additional formal or informal writing exercises. In short, this writing will be a key component of your work for this class. In addition to your five formal (graded) essays and two formal revisions, this journal will form the basis for the bulk of your writing during the term. Let your journal be influenced by the other writing we do in and for class. Let your style be influenced by the readings we are doing and reading that you are doing for your other Mosaic classes. Take advice from your classmates, or ignore it; take advice from me and your other professors.

Keep your journal in a separate notebook that can be handed in to me or can be shared among your classmates at any time. It must be written in ink (longhand or printed), or printed out on computer sheets that can be included in a journal format. You can keep your rough notes or drafts elsewhere. Your journal should be work that you would want to read aloud to the class or that someone else could read aloud. I will collect these on November 20 for the last time and will hand them back to you by the end of term.

Let me know if you have questions.

The predator-prey relationship is almost as old as the animal kingdom; it must have been a very early evolutionary adaptation, designed to insure another source of nutrition: feeding on one’s own kind–animals–as opposed to plants (leaves) or minerals (salt).*

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Visible evolution: a Smithsonian display presents the remarkable alteration of a toothed-whale’s teeth into baleen, the filter feeding devices now used by today’s baleen whales.

A giant ground sloth, of the kind that roamed North and South America during the Pleistocene, over 10,000 years ago, still standing his ground in a display at the Smithsonian.

Natural History Mosaic

Independent Research/Independent Study

Fall 2012

(A course credit in the Natural History Mosaic Program)

The class gathers around the Smithsonian’s iconic bull elephant; at 8 tons and 14 feet tall, it is an astonishingly large example of an African elephant. He has stood in this lobby since 1959.

Course Aims and Expectations:

This credit—the 4th of your credits for the Natural History mosaic—will allow you to deepen you knowledge of one of our topics under the guidance of one or two professors. You will pick a topic during the first week of the semester, refine that topic during the early weeks of the semester, and then spend the remainder of the fall term preparing your final research or study project. The course will also provide an opportunity for peer editing and comment as well as regular interactions with your supervising professor/s.

Requirements:

Because of the faculty teaching assignments for the semester, seven of you will work primarily with Professor Nichols, two each primarily with Professors Key and Wingert. Those of you who know that your topics are primarily scientific (lab based, primary research, specimens, data collection and analysis) will need to decide whether your focus leans toward paleontology and marine biology (Professor Key or terrestrial biology and environmental science (Professor Wingert). Those of you whose work will fall in the disciplines of history, literature, cultural studies—and the like—will automatically work with Professor Nichols. A number of you may by assigned to Prof. Nichols but consult regularly with Prof. Key or Wingert.

Does “wilderness” become a different space once human beings arrive there? Can there be any true wilderness left once the earth has been completely mapped, and charted, and photographed, and Googled?

Possible Independent Study Projects

Independent Study is a broad, literature-based investigation involving synthesis of already published literature and write up based on your own thesis statement and careful textual research. Possible ideas might include:

Prof. Nichols:

Professor Nichols’s Romantic Natural History hypertext website reveals how much scientists cared about poetry and poets cared about science in the century before Darwin’s Origin. See: http://blogs.dickinson.edu/romnat/

–history of a museum (Smithsonian, Carnegie) or collection within a museum (animal halls, fossils, rocks and minerals)

–critical biography of an author (Aldo Leopold, Annie Dillard)

–history of several natural history books or a series of field guides (Peterson Series, National Geographic, Audubon)

–essay about H. D. Thoreau (as a naturalist or a writer) or a more general biography

–architectural and/or historical study of the Joseph Priestley House 1794-1804

–essay about John James Audubon: his life, his fieldwork, his artistry

A happy entomologist shows off her careful (and sustainable) collection.

Prof. Key:

–the role of mass extinction in the history of biodiversity

– was T. rex a predator or a scavenger

– some aspect of the evolution of humans

– develop a new display on paleontology, evolution, or biodiversity (or a combination) for our new Kaufman museum

The first natural historian, Pliny the Elder. Pliny died while on an excursion to gain a close-up view of the great eruption of Vesuvius in August of 79 AD.

Possible Independent Research Projects:

 Independent Research is a focused investigation involving actual specimens, data collection, data analysis, and write up. Possible ideas might include:

Prof. Key:

– biology or ecology of estuarine animals (e.g., Chesapeake Bay blue crab)

– evolutionary or paleoecological process (e.g., relationship of shark tooth shape to ease of penetration or mammal stride length vs. speed

–paleoenvironmental interpretation of clam fossil slab by modeling of clam shell behavior in a wave tank)

A bug-box collected under environmentally sustainable conditions.

Prof. Wingert:

– comparison of barn owl diet with long-eared owl

– nitrogen comparison of two streams: one stream in a deer impacted area and the other in a healthy forest

– egg counts in Gray tree frog females

– macro assessment of three streams: one in a residential area, the other in agricultural area, and a control stream in a forested environment

You will pick a topic that will be approved by the professors by Friday August 31 and fill out the necessary registration form for the Registrar. This class will have regularly scheduled meeting times—9:00 a.m. Wednesday, 1:30 p.m. Friday–but it will only use that time for the first several weeks of class. Then you will be working largely on your own and with individual meetings with your assigned professor (seven with Professor Nichols, two each with Professors Key and Wingert). We may have borderline research/study projects that will be shared between professors. We will keep these time slots open for individual meetings as the semester progresses.

August 29 9 a.m.  What is an Independent Study or Research Project: How does it work?

31  1:30 p.m. Final decision and registration for your Independent Research/Study course

September 5 9 a.m. First meeting to plan schedules for semester

7   1:30 p.m. Individual meeting with professors

12  9 a.m. Individual meetings with professors

27 Th **Whistlestop Bookshop Reading, Prof. Nichols 4:30 p.m.***

c. November 28  15 minute oral presentations

November 30 F  First draft of Independent Study/Research project due

December 14  F Final  version due

Let us know if you have questions.

Why is NATURAL HISTORY so important? (Click on this image–above–to appreciate the significance of natural history collections and collecting in the 21st century.)

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The Mosaic class gathers around a bust of Spencer Fullerton Baird, 19th-century student and professor at Dickinson who was later the second Secretary of the Smithsonian. Taught to draw birds by John James Audubon, Baird took two boxcars full of natural history specimens with him to Washington, D.C., from Carlisle, PA. He was responsible for making the Smithsonian the nation’s great museum; its collections grew from 6,000 to 2,000,000 specimens during his tenure. Some of his birds are still visible. (Professor Key smiles at lower right.)

Ashton Nichols, K 192, EC 305

see also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZqNrk4h7N0

and:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PBr9pTItVX0&feature=relmfu

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Eller’s sketch of Tangier Island, Virginia, drawn from Port Isobel, the tiny uninhabited island where we stayed while studying the Chesapeake Bay. Tangier was named by Captain John Smith in 1608 for its resemblance to the coast of North Africa.

Academic Accommodation:

Dickinson College makes reasonable academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. I am available to discuss the implementation of those accommodations.  Students requesting accommodations must first register with Disability Services to verify their eligibility. After documentation review, Marni Jones, Director of Learning Skills and Disability Services, will provide eligible students with accommodation letters for their professors. Students must obtain a new letter every semester and meet with each relevant professor prior to any accommodations being implemented.  These meetings should occur during the first three weeks of the semester (except for unusual circumstances), and at least one week before any testing accommodations. Disability Services is located in Biddle House. Address inquiries to Stephanie Anderberg at 717-245-1734 or email disabilityservices@dickinson.edu. For more information, see the Disability Serviceswebsite: www.dickinson.edu/disabilityservices.

“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers [and sisters].” (apologies to Shakespeare)