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a curation of knowing (teach-in idea)

caleb.eckert's picture

In reflecting on whar Freya Mathews says about our need for an "attentive love" for the world, I want to use our learning in this class to tangibly engage with the world in multiple ways. One idea is to begin to learn the names of the beings we live among by doing a guided plant walk around Morris Woods near English House. The walk facilitators would research plants before the walk and incorporate parts of our readings as theoretical maps. We would walk and see, feel, touch, smell, listen to (and taste?) the life around us, while situating ourselves in the wider scope (scape?) of interconnected things. I envision this as a small way of merging two kinds of knowing—knowledge from reading or theorizing, and knowledge from doing or creating—that seem, in our colleges, so starkly divided and harshly jduged. Both ways of knowing must be present in an active, contemplative, and thoughtful love for the world. It is the privileging of one over the other that is a central form of imbalance. The philosophical is not always impractical, the pragmatic not always frivolous. I believe there are ways to engaging with the world by intertwining them, but that these ways require alternative thinking that looks outside the boxes we live in. The combination of these knowledges, read out loud and shared together, might be a step towards a re-valuing of the theoretical and applied, loosening them from the binaries of nature/culture, good/evil, intellectual/commonplace, complex/simple, big/small, worthy/unworthy, in our own shared contexts.

Thoughts on this?


caleb.eckert's picture

This sounds incredibly similar to what I had in mind. Iterations of the same feelings (and frustrations)? I'm wondering how I/we might better guide a walk like this through a "map" of theory—going beyond just reading outside, and making our readings intentionally invested in our musings about/with the biota around us...