Ashton Nichols Syllabus

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Critical Approaches and Literary Methods

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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”

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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”

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

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

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

15 F Heaney: 72, 120 Mayes 184-201

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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”

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26 T Heaney: 411                                                                            ESSAY #1 DUE

MARCH 1 F Brontë: 15-220

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5 T Brontë: 220-441

8 F Film versions of Jane Eyre

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12 T SPRING BREAK

15 F SPRING BREAK

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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

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

5 F  NO CLASS Research Day for Essay #2

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

12 F Shakespeare Act I-II

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16 T Shakespeare Act III-IV

19 F Shakespeare Act V

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

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

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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)

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

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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@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 329                                   Fall 2015

Ecocriticism

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:)

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.

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 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 percentage scale. 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

September 1 T Our syllabus—Our syllabus as a Text—-Our class as a Dialogue

September 3 H Nichols 49-52, 80-81, 152-63 William Blake (online): “The Fly,” “The Tyger,” “The Lamb, ”Garrard “Beginnings: Pollution” 1-16

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8 T Nichols, 3-4, 11-14, 95-96, Wordsworth (online): “Westminster Bridge,” “Nutting,” “The World is Too Much with Us” Garrard “Positions”: 16-33

10 H Nichols, 14-25, 96-97, 153 Coleridge (online): “Kubla Khan,” “The Eolian Harp” Garrard “Pastoral”: 33-59; (Gillen D’Arcy Wood to class with Prof. Edwards’ class) handout + video:

[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EI9tS4_nl7A]

10th Thursday, 7:00 p.m. D’Arcy Wood Lecture (Required) Stern Great Room

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15 T Nichols, 22-27, 124-27, 146-48 Shelley (online): “On Love,” “Death,” “The Cloud,” “ Ode to the West Wind” Garrard: “Wilderness”: 59-85

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

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

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

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29 T Frankenstein: 59-102

October 1 H Frankenstein: 103-end

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October 5, Monday, Mark Ruffalo Lecture, 7:00 p.m. ATS Auditorium (attend if you have a ticket)

5 M Workshop draft of ESSAY #1

8 H Frankenfilms (Nichols)

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13 T [Egbert Leigh to Class – See links following] Leigh: C.V., Leigh Article, (Be ready with questions after class talk: “How Aristotle and Adam Smith can help the evolutionary biologist”) Also read Nichols, Tennyson: 107-09 and Darwin: 38-42, 132-33, 181-83, Garrard “Futures: The Earth”: 160-183

October 13, Egbert Leigh Evening Lecture: REQUIRED 5:00 p.m. Denny 317

15 H Essay #1 due (ecocritical close reading of one chapter section from Urbanatural Roosting) Workshop

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20 T Fall Pause

22 H Thoreau: 5-127, Glotfelty, xv-xxxvii: “Introduction”

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27 T Thoreau: 129-284, Glotfelty, Manes: “Nature and Silence”

29 H Thoreau: 285-end, Glotfelty, Fromm: “Transcendence to Obsolescence”

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November 2, M, 4:30 p.m., William Gleason, Professor and Chair of English at Princeton University, Monday, in Stafford Auditorium, Rector Science Complex: “Future of the Environmental Humanities” (required)

3 T Tess: 1-79 Glotfelty, White: “The Historical Roosts of Our Ecologic Crisis” Visit by Professor Gleason to class: bring one excellent question

5 H Tess: 79-178, Glotfelty, Turner: “Cultivating,” Research abstract for Essay #2 due

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10 T Tess: 178-239, Glotfelty, Howarth: “Some Principles of Ecocriticism”

12 H Tess: 239-289, Glotfelty, Rueckert: “Literature and Ecology”

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17 T Tess: 289-end and Darwin [in Tess edition]: 422-51 + Darwin handout (distributed in class).

19 H The End of Nature, Part I + McKibben [YouTube Videos: Bill McKibben at Dickinson, Global Warming: David Letterman Talks to Bill McKibben 08/31/10, Do the Math With Bill McKibben]

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24 T McKibben, The End of Nature, Part II + (annotated bibliography for Essay #2 due)

26 H THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY

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December 1 T 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”

3 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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8 T Course summary and Exam writing; identifications, short answers, essay questions)

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

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Monday December 14, 5:00 p.m. (NO LATE EXAMS): Take home final exam due in KAUFMAN 192 (can be submitted electronically via email–see me with questions)

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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: bombaroc@dickinson.edu 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

Dickinson College makes reasonable academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Students requesting accommodations must make their request and provide appropriate documentation to Disability Services in Biddle House. Because classes change every semester, eligible students must obtain a new accommodation letter from Director Marni Jones every semester and review this letter with their professors so the accommodations can be implemented. The Director of Disability Services is available by appointment to answer questions and discuss any implementation issues you may have. Disability Services proctoring is managed by Susan Frommer at 717-254-8107 or proctoring@dickinson.edu. Address general inquiries to Stephanie Anderberg at 717-245-1734 or e-mail disabilityservices@dickinson.edu.

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

What Two Ecocritics Have Said About Nature

“Ecocriticism can be further characterized by distinguishing it from other critical approaches. Literary theory, in general, examines the relations between writers, texts, and the world. In most literary theory “the world” is synonymous with society–the social sphere. Ecocriticism expands the notion of “the world” to include the entire ecosphere. If we agree with Barry Commoner’s first law of ecology, “Everything is connected to everything else,” we must conclude that literature does not float above the material world in some aesthetic ether, but, rather, plays a part in an immensely complex global system, in which energy, matter, and ideas interact.” –Glotfelty and Fromm

Professor Ashton Nichols: Kaufman 192        Class meetings: 9:00–10:15 a. m. T H

Office Hours: 10:15-1:30 T TH and by appt.                    Classroom: Kaufman 185

 

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.

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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 staff 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.

______________________________

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.

________________________________

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

_________________________________

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.

__________________________________

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.

___________________________________

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.

___________________________________

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

*   *   *   *   *   *

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)

*   *   *   *   *   *   

22 Th  Thanksgiving (No Class)

___________________________________

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

30 Fr  Draft of IR/IS projects due

___________________________________

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

14 Friday Final IR/IS due FINAL MOSAIC DINNER

___________________________________

Professor Ashton Nichols Kaufman 192, East College 305.

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

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

 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)

  **************************

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).*

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

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.)

* * * * * * * * * * * * 

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

 * * * * * * * * * * * *

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.

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