Seminar Schedule

NEH Seminars provide rich opportunities to explore new ideas and to exchange insights with a small group of peers. We look forward to forming a vibrant learning community this summer. "Re-Enchanting Nature: Humanities Perspectives" uses a mixture of presentations, discussions, activities, and field trips to engage participants in a range of group and individual learning experiences. There is ample opportunity for critical inquiry, reflection, and sharing of plans and ideas for the classroom.

Each day’s curriculum centers on a new primary source or sources, oftentimes with accompanying critical scholarship, and includes a presentation and discussion led by one of the project co-directors or a featured scholar. Issues concerning nature bring out passionate points of view. We expect that seminar participants will bring with them a range of perspectives, allegiances, and interests concerning the topics to be addressed. Summer scholars should expect the same. We strive to be guided in all our conversations by principles of charity and empathy.  

A detailed schedule follows below. You can also select the links below to see the schedule for each week.

Print schedule

Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3

Week 1

Monday, July 5

Introduction: Disenchantment and Re-enchantment

9:00 AM - Morning Session on Bennett, Berry, et. al.
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Orientation to Carroll College and its Resources
3:00 PM - Prep Time/Individual Meetings with Project Directors

Assignment

 

Unit One: Shaped by Story

Historical, literary, and even scientific narratives play a seminal role shaping our relations to the rest of nature. Stories encode the ideas and values which we alternately use to set ourselves within or apart from nature. This unit is designed to draw out the complexity in how narratives communicate these ideas and values. 

Tuesday, July 6: In the Beginning

9:00 AM - Session on historic animal representations and narratives
12:00 PM  - Lunch
1:00 PM - Session on Meloy and narrative
3:00 PM - Prep Time/Individual Meetings with Project Directors

Assignment

  • Short excerpts from Beowulf & The Epic of Gilgamesh
  • Visual representations of the Great Chain of Being
  • Excerpts from Ellen Meloy’s Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild

Wednesday, July 7: Oral Traditions (with guest scholars Mike Jetty and Shane Doyle)

9:00 AM - Native American Origin Stories
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Teaching the Stories: Montana’s Indian Education for All Curriculum
3:30 PM - Origin Stories in the Classroom Activity

Assignment

  • Selections from American Indian Myths and Legends
  • "From Native North American Oral Traditions to Western Literacy: Storytelling in Education" by Nathalie Piquemal

Thursday, July 8: Pictographs and Poetry (with guest scholar Melissa Kwasny)

9:00 AM - Field Trip to Hellgate Canyon
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Session on Poetry and Nature 

Assignment

  • Pictograph by Melissa Kwasny  

Friday, July 9: Privilege and Access

9:00 AM - Session on Bullard and Finney
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Continued discussion and writing reflection
2:30 PM - Pedagogy Session with Christina Torres

Assignment

  • Robert Bullard, Dumpin in Dixie, Ch. 1
  • Excerpts from Carolyn Finney's Black Faces, White Spaces. 

Week 2

Unit Two: The Many-Faceted Lens

This unit deepens our exploration of ideas and values by engaging more directly with diverse worldviews. We study the presumptions governing common conceptual frameworks for understanding human relations to the rest of nature—from viewing nature as an economic resource needing development, to seeing it as spiritual resource needing preservation, to stressing our ecological interdependence with it—and weigh their respective intellectual and social consequences. Furthermore, in the spirit of considering the many “lenses” through which
we view nature, we consider the epistemological contributions of various disciplinary approaches, asking ourselves what we can learn from law, historical memoir, literature, philosophy, anthropology, empirical science, art, and so on.

Monday, July 12: Worldviews and their construction

9:00 AM - Session on Purdy
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Session on Lopez
2:30 PM - Writing activity

Evening Viewing of documentary Butte, America

Assignment

  • Jedediah Purdy, "American Natures: The Shape of Conflict in Environmental Law"
  • Barry Lopez, "A Presentation of Whales" Butte,  America documentary film.

Tuesday, July 13: Field Trip to Butte, America ("The Richest Hill on Earth")

9:00 AM - Travel to Butte, Montana for a tour and discussion. 
Lunch in the field.
5:00 PM - Arrive back in Helena.

Assignment

Wednesday, July 14: Worldviews and their construction II

9:00 AM - Debrief Butte trip. Session on Ansel Adams.
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM -  Session on Adams and Hogan

Assignment

  • Ansel Adams, “The Artist and the Ideals of Wilderness” and “Problems of Interpretation of the Natural Scene” 
  • Jonathan Spaulding, "Yosemite and Ansel Adams: Art, Commerce, and Western Tourism" 
  • Linda Hogan, Dwellings
  • Suggested reading (optional): Scott Friskics, “The Twofold Myth of Pristine Wilderness:
    Misreading the Wilderness Act in Terms of Purity.”

Thursday, July 15: Inheriting and Transforming Multiple Worldviews 

9:00 AM - Travel to Lincoln, Montana for walking tour of Blackfeet Pathways Sculpture Park.
Lunch in the field
3:00 PM - Pedagogy session with Christina Torres

 

Unit Three: Bringing it Together in Yellowstone National Park

Friday, July 12

9:00 AM - Execises on LeGuin and Zagzebski
12:00 PM - Lunch
1:00 PM - Session on Empire of Shadows
Late Afternoon - Screen an episode of Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea?

Assignment

  • Read Ursula Le Guin’s “The Author of the Acacia Seeds and Other Extracts from the
    Journal of Therolinguistics ”
  • Read chapters 29-31 of George Black’s Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone"

Week 3

Monday, July 19

Travel to the West Yellowstone Studies Center and visit Yellowstone National Park 

Assignment

  • Gareth E. John, "Yellowstone as ‘Landscape Idea’: Thomas Moran and the Pictorial Practices of
    Gilded-Age Western Exploration"
  • John Muir, Our National Parks 
     

Tuesday, July 20: Ecological Survey of Yellowstone National Park

Ecological survey of Yellowstone National Park with Dr. Grant Hokit, professor of biology and environmental science at Carroll College.

Wednesday, July 21: Yellowstone and Native American Cultural Traditions

Native American cultural survey of Yellowstone National Park with Mike Jetty, Indian Education Specialist for the State of Montana and Dr. Shane Doyle, Educational Consultant.

Assignment

  • Optional: “Bad Medicine” by Owen Wister 

Thursday, July 18

A day in Yellowstone National Park. Precise agenda to be determined in consultation with participants, based on the day’s reading.

Assignment

  • David Quammen, “Yellowstone: Battle for the American West.” National Geographic Magazine. 

Friday, July 23

Return to Carroll College for discussion of curricular proposals and a final dinner together.