2012-13 Catalog

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Offering Description

Transcendental Visions: Reimagining the American Dream


Spring 2013 quarter

Rebecca Chamberlain literature, writing, yoga
Fields of Study
literature, sustainability studies and writing

What conditions sparked the genius of the American transcendentalist movement, and what are the competing visions of the American dream today?  As the Transcendentalists established an enduring literary legacy and environmental ethos, they had a profound effect on social, political, and spiritual reform.  What is the split in the American psyche that is both deeply connected to, and conflicted about, the connection to the natural world and community?  What constitutes self-reliance?  Can we follow Thoreau’s example to live—and write—"deliberately," or to cultivate a "practice of the wild?"  How did the idealism and intellectual rigor of Emerson, Thoreau, Fuller, and other writers and leaders of their age negotiate social change?

In this program, we will develop our skills as writers, researchers, poets, storytellers, and critical and creative thinkers by examining various forms of the essay, developing a personal and expository essay, and exploring other genres of writing.  We will compare the works of the Transcendentalists and their contemporaries with other leading American activists, naturalists, essayists, poets, artists, and multicultural writers.  Through a study of literature and a practice of writing, we will ground ourselves in the historical roots of the past, explore possibilities for the future, and imagine an alternative dream of America that embraces the natural world, social justice, community, and creativity.  We will develop tools and lenses of literary and eco-criticism, natural history writing, historical analysis, sustainability, and social justice.

Advertised Schedule
6-10p Tue/Thu (Field studies will be announced when they are finalized, and may include a Friday night and/or a Sunday morning.)
Online Learning
Enhanced Online Learning
Greener Store
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
February 7th, 2013 Program has been cancelled. Faculty will be teaching Astronomy and Cosmologies spring quarter.