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    Massachusetts College of Art and Design
   
 
  Feb 20, 2018
 
 
    
Academic Catalog 2017-2018

LALW411 Man Vs. Wild and Other Stories We Tell 3cr


Droughts scorch the Middle East and the American
southwest. Wildfires rip across Indonesia. Rising
sea levels are already beginning to swallow up
island nations, and warming waters are decimating
ocean life. As the effects of climate change
wreak havoc on human societies and ecosystems
across the globe, they also shine an increasingly
bright spotlight on how human beings think about
and interact with the natural world. This class
will explore changing attitudes toward nature
over several centuries, including, and
especially, the present day. We will discuss the
role that writing and art have played in shaping
our understanding of the natural world over time
(with possible selections from Genesis, Edmund
Burke, William Wordsworth, Charles Darwin, and
Henry David Thoreau). We will also explore how
writers, artists, and filmmakers are confronting
the representational challenges posed by climate
change today (possible readings include Margaret
Atwood, Oryx and Crake; Paolo Bacigalupi, The
Water Thief; Indra Sinha, Animal’s People; Kim
Stanley Robinson, Green Earth; selections from
Bill McKibben, Stacy Alaimo, William Cronon, bell
hooks, E.O. Wilson, and Eduardo Kohn; films such
as Racing Extinction, This Changes Everything).
 
Over the course of the semester, you will
undertake research on an interdisciplinary
project that investigates a site of human-nature
interaction of your choosing, traces its impact
on the world, and explores creative ways to
express this impact. You will receive feedback on
this project in beginning, intermediary, and
final stages, and it will include both written
and creative components. We will have several
exciting opportunities to broaden our
perspectives on this topic. First, this course
will be participating in the interdisciplinary
Sustainability Studio in the DMC, through which
we will be opening several of our classes to the
public. Second, we will meet multiple times over
the semester with Professor Nava’s summative
elective course, which approaches many of the
issues we will be addressing from a scientific
perspective that will deepen our humanistic one.

Prerequisites: LALW-200

Seminar
Spring