In Nature and the Human Spirit we explore the human relationship with the natural world from the Pleistocene to the present. We investigate primal worldview, the development of classical wisdom traditions, and contemporary relationships with nature such as transcendentalism, deep ecology, ecopsychology, somatics and contemporary environmental art. We explore intersections among art, culture, and ecology and engage in experiential, process-oriented creative expression including mask making, movement and performance.
Enrollment Requirements and Options:
Courses are integrated co-requisites with simultaneous enrollment required. Co-enrollment in online courses is available with instructor permission. Student’s may TA a course in this pod with instructor permission.
This pod includes the following courses:
Nature, Culture, Consciousness 3cr
What is Nature? This course investigates how humans have answered this fundamental question and follows the development of our perspectives on nature from the Pleistocene to the present. The first part of the course explores the world views of hunting and gathering cultures past and present, and how the legacy of eons of hunting and gathering play out in our lives today. The second part of the course explores the wisdom traditions of the world, east and west, that coincided with the development of arable agriculture, and investigates what these traditions have to say about the human relationship with nature. The third and final part of the course explores emerging movements that have coincided with the development of industrialism: romanticism and transcendentalism, ecology, deep ecology, ecopsychology, bioregionalism and biophilia. The course is designed as a second or third year survey and seminar program, integrating content-rich lectures and student-driven discussions.
Performance Ecology: Myths, Masks, and Movement 3cr
This advanced-level interdisciplinary class builds upon foundational theories and practices explored in introductory courses in visual arts, ecology and cultural studies. Students examine the historical and contemporary intersections among art, culture and ecology. Students engage in process-oriented creativity with nature, working with ecosystem energetics and ecological dynamics to create performance productions. Throughout this course, students explore the ways in which art is used as an agent for landscape and cultural interpretation, and as an avenue to stimulate public discourse. Utilizing emergent- based methods, students engage in interdisciplinary research and explore a diversity of collaborative performance techniques to convey their results.