Communication and Culture | Topics in Media, Culture, and Society (Topic: Performances of Human/Nature: Defining Relationships with the Environment)
C204 | 12220 | Robinson, J.

TuTh, 11:15 AM-12:30 PM, TE F256

Fulfills College S&H Requirement

Instructor: Jennifer Robinson
Office: C2 275
Phone: 855-4607

In fall 2009, C204 will focus on “Performing Human/Nature: Defining
Relationships with the Environment.”  This course uses fiction,
film, journalism, public relations materials, and students’
ethnographic research to explore how people construct their
relationships to the natural world and structures their lives
accordingly.  We will develop definitions of terms such as human,
nature, environment, wilderness, society, and civilization.  Our
study will place special emphasis on how understandings of the
human/nature relationship are performed and otherwise communicated
in everyday life.

In addition to those on ethnographic methods and performance theory,
readings will include Richard Jenseth and Edward Lotto’s
Constructing Nature: Readings from the American Experience, Roderick
Nash’s Wilderness and the American Mind, Henry David Thoreau from
Walden, Bartolome de las Casas from The Devastation of the Indies,
Ralph Waldo Emerson from Nature, Rachel Carson from Silent Spring,
James Audubon from Audubon and His Journals, Leslie Marmon
Silko’s “Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination,” James
Dickey’s Deliverance, Werner Herzog’s film Grizzly Man, Al
Gore’s “Environmentalism of the Spirit,” and Michael Pollan’s “The
Idea of a Garden.”  Assignments will include
autoethnographic/reflective writing, fieldwork, analytical text-
based writing, and exams.  The course continues the work of CMCL
C122, defamiliarizing culture for analysis, strengthening
ethnographic skills, and providing a foundation for more advanced
courses on environment, sustainability, and performance.