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Notes Towards Day 2 (Thurs, Sept. 6): "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:

write down  3 words (nouns or adjectives) that you use to “classify” yourself
(in your postings, most of you said, "I am from.... why?)
put yourself into 3 “classes” (=categories, groups) that are important to you,
and that you are comfortable using

go 'round, say your name and the 3 (other!) ways of "classifying" you
(pay attention: next week we start testing one another....)

III. welcome back!
did everyone come back?
everyone signed up (but rochelle signed up twice--delete one of these?)
and everyone's recognizable (but cahier--tell us the backstory?)
most of you posted (alex added an image (yeah!), but
also tagged her post (as did wanhong) as DalkeCourseNotes--please untag?
@ 9 last night, we were missing mbackus, Hannah,
& both Rochelles...need a hand up w/ this?

other questions/obstacles/successes to report?

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??

* get up, sign up on board for writing conferences to begin next week

* weekend assignments:
You will have a 3-pp. writing assignment due every Friday @ 5; the first one is due tomorrow (to get you writing straight off....)
You've read Thoreau; so now, take a Thoreauvian walk around campus: locate its center, explore its boundaries (what marks the edges of this place?). "Saunter," "ruminate," and "seek new prospects," as Thoreau advises.  (What trees can you climb, "borders" can you cross, "present" might you enter? What "useful ignorance" will you "diffuse" thereby?) Then write 3 pp.
reflecting on what you experienced. You can write "to" Thoreau, or "like" Thoreau, or to "correct" Thoreau. Or forget Thoreau and write like....(who?!)--but you should e-mail this essay (and all future Friday evening assignments) as a Word document to

by 5 p.m. on Sunday (Sept. 9): return to our on-line course forum, post a paragraph reflecting on the reflections you've just written. What insights and/or questions did writing this piece (or reading the reflections of someone else) raise for you? What was challenging, or satisfying? How was your work like-or-different from Thoreau's? From what your classmates have said about their own?

by classtime on Tuesday, 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?

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 am still trying to get a handle on on-line annotation tools:
Scrivener and Acrobe Reader seem the best (but must be purchased....);
GoodReader, an iPad-only application, is $5...other suggestions?

other questions? useful thoughts?

V. where are we happiest, on campus (so far)?
and what about the plants....? let's see what we said:
let's make a grid (ranking ourselves and plants)-->
(I'll scroll through the forum, while one of you constructs the chart...)

what have we learned? is there a pattern?
(among us? cf'ing us w/ plants?)
& what about the animals?

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 make sense, for an educational environment?

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...
one that didn't/that you would like to discuss....
let's have a "read-around"...
first 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?
(let's attend to his voice, as we begin to think about our own...)