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Notes Towards Day 2 (Mon, Sept. 10): "Where are We Happiest?"

Anne Dalke's picture

I. As we enter, Paul Winter, "Sea Song." Earth Music:
"representative voices from the greater symphony of the Earth
(part of my inviting you to imagine various forms of representation...
words aren't the only way!)

II. begin (again) w/ introductions:
go 'round, say your name and the 3 (other!) ways of "classifying" you--
it would help me to know about majors/minors--give a sense of
your orientation to "ecological imagining...."
(pay attention: next week we start testing one another!)

III. welcome back!
11 folks signed up -- everyone "recognizable" via user names?
all of you posted about "where you are happiest"
though we need need to fiddle a bit w/ the posting process:
Amanda didn't log in; graham posted his as Dalke course notes;
krysg didn't tag hers for this class (so it's hard to find...),
but the first web events all seemed fine--and a number of you
commented on each others' stories--you're getting the hang already!
(I won't get there til next weekend to comment...)

other questions/obstacles/successes to report?
about using Serendip or other class expectations?

IV. additional course-keeping
* what about our meeting outside? (as default?)
would we be happier there? more productive?
what's an eco-friendly way to decide??

* by classtime on Wednesday, read 1 1/2 chapters from Rebecca Solnit's 2005 book,
A Field Guide to Getting Lost (pp. 3-25, 161-168 in our password protected file). A modern-day Thoreau,
Solnit talks (among other things) about map-making; we'll use her ideas to think about different
ways of representing this campus: What parts of the environment matter = need to be foregrounded?
What is background = can be omitted from our map? (Sarah, rachelr: an edited version of the Non-fictional Prose discussion...)

You'll see that the copy I've provided is very heavily annotated
(by me, sorry; the library copy went missing for a while this summer....);
I also put up a post about using the free Adobe Reader X software
to annotate the text on the computer; try it out...

* by 5 p.m. on Thurs, select a site on campus that you want to re-visit, once/week,
throughout the semester (there might be a logic to some off-campus sites, too...)

following the instructions @ How to Add an Image, post a visualization of the BMC/HC campus
(a map, a photograph, a sketch? of what era?); then write a paragraph about what you are choosing
to foreground, and why. What is background in this visualization? Where are its boundaries?
What is terra incognita here? Finally, explain the relation of that image to your chosen site.

For example/my sample: Imagining the Human in the Landscape

V. where are we happiest, on campus, (so far)?
and what about the plants....?

"charting" what we said @

lot PSB Dalton EnglishHouse Morris Woods
4 5 3 2 1
4 5 3 1 2
5 3 4 1 2
3 5 1 4 2
5 4 3 1 2
5 4 2 3 1
5 2 3 1 4
5 4 2 3 1
1 4 2 3 5
3 1 4 5 2
3 5 2 4 1
2 5 3 4 1
2 5 3 4 1
5 3 4 2 1
4 5 3 2 1
5 4 2 3 1
4 5 3 2 1
4 3 2 5 1
2 4 3 5 1
5 4 1 3 2
2 3 5 4 1
3 5 2 4 1

are there any overarching patterns? what did we learn, from conducting this exercise?
what are the variables? how are we and plants in/compatible, in what we need/like/value?

a key idea in env'l studies is that most of our lives/studies are too focused on human
"what makes US happy"...what would happen if we shifted that focus...?
how might the campus change, if it were more focused on the flourishing of organisms
other than ourselves...? does that question even make sense (how could it be made to
make sense?) for an educational environment?

VI. Thoreau's 1851 essay, "Walking," a classic, canonical eco-text,
describes a very different sort of exploration, not goal-driven, not seeking "ranking"

...look it over, select two lines to read aloud:
something you liked/that resonated...
another that you didn't/that you would like to discuss....
let's have a "read-around"...on the first round,
the "good," then the more "questionable" stuff

(don't hesitate to read a line someone else has read;
the repetition will be part of the point here....)

what did you hear? how did it sound?
(any different from reading silently?)

what matters in this reading?
(should we "still" read this?)
HOW did he write? what's his tone/attitude/
assumption re: his audience?

I asked you to accept his "invitation."
What are the differences-and-similarities
between Thoreau's and your own explorations...?
And between the tonality of his writing, and yours?
(how much does your writing "saunter" and "go off track...."?

rachelr, "The Center Cannot Hold" 

ekthorp, "Boundaries, Edges and Centers":   I began my journey by walking across Senior Row, and stepping up and over the Moon Bench.

AmandaKennedy, "Center of Campus, Center of Life": When Henry David Thoreau wrote in “Walking,” “How womankind, who are confined to the house still more than men, stand it I do not know; but I have ground to suspect that most of them do not STAND it at all,” he must have been referring to Mawrtyrs.

eetong, "Wandering & wondering": I. For this walk, I felt restricted in my wanderings.

Max Turer, "A Guided Saunter": In order to walk through Bryn Mawr like Thoreau, I began at the center.

Sarah Shaw, "Blurred Boundaries": I’ve never been very good at wandering or walking without any sort of plan.

r. graham.barrett, "Blissfully Ignorant Wanderings": As I was about to begin my Thoreauvian walk around the Bryn Mawr campus, I considered briefly examining a map of the campus so I could get a better sense of where my walk might take me.

Smacholdt, "Turning in Circles": Nature is a world onto itself, but like anything it is impossible to observe impartially.

krysg, "West Philly Meander": It does not seem like there is a point in my day in which I go on a “proper” Thoreauvian walk; in fact, it does not seem that many places around me offer the possibility of walking without guided action.

Nan, "Centering Across Time": Late Spring, 1970 /Late Summer, 2012
What makes a place feel like a center of the campus?

How might your kind of writing figure the kind of walking you did?
What sort of prose might represent a "saunter"?
What sort of prose could represent a directed, goal-oriented walk?