“As we cast about for ways to show such readers that the real-world problems of everyday life raise fascinating questions about the human place in nature and how people think of it, Donna Haraway proposed that we begin by discussing what she called “found objects”: texts, photographs, advertisements, paintings, anything that would exemplify as concretely and vividly as possible the ideas of nature we wished to explore. Each of us, she suggested, should bring in an image or a text that would force the group to think about nature in new and unexpected ways. The resulting gallery of “found objects” would give us a rich and wonderfully playful tool for launching our discussions and getting to know one another’s different perspectives at the same time.” (Cronon,Uncommon Ground, p.27)
Cronon and Haraway use “found objects” in order see conceptions of nature exemplified in everyday life. In this class, we will study “media objects” as evidence of a public environmental imagination. As such, they offer access to the broad range of meanings and anticipated roles for nature in contemporary American life. Every week, you will be asked to share a media object that helps you “think about nature in new and unexpected ways.” By bringing these objects together, we can build our own media gallery, useful for assessing the shape of our environmental moment. We will eventually use this gallery in order to motivate a series of papers and a project, the details and ambition of which will be defined in due time.
For next meeting, your first collection exercise is to identify a multi-panel comic (i.e. sequential art, not more than one page) that depicts nature in an unexpected way. This need not be a new comic, but it should be resonant with today’s cultural context.
THIS IS THE LINK TO THE COLLECTION FROM OTHER STUDENTS IN THE CLASS
The final paper is a written reflection on one (or more) of the media collections that we have been conducting throughout the term. The paper should be short (~1200 words) and empirically grounded.
In order to complete this paper, first select one(or several) of the collections as your source of evidence. Then, read through the responses of your classmates and the notes they submitted for their submissions. For at least half (15) of the responses, code (i.e. tag) the text for common terms, themes, or tropes. Develop a descriptive framework or set of categories for making sense of the variations. In other words, find a way of succinctly expressing what has been said across the scope of responses. Try to acknowledge and make a place for outliers, rather than discarding them outright.
Use this descriptive framework to make and defend a claim of your own that confirms, extends or refutes a single argument from more than one of the readings that you have been assigned this term. Bring in other literature that we may have not discussed but is relevant to making your case. Use representative quotes from the corpus of student responses in order to illustrate your points, rather than simply summarizing the evidence. Use footnotes for all references, including student media collections.
Consult the Chicago Manual for questions of style and citation: http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html (Links to an external site.)
Egregious spelling and grammar mistakes will result in a lower grade. I suggest having someone else in the class proofread your paper before submitting it. Plagiarism is grounds for disciplinary action.
Your paper should be submitted in text form (.doc, .txt, .rtf)
THESE ARE SOME OF THE READING
Here is a simple rubric to help you with the paper.
Does the paper focus on an identifiable and reasonable claim that extends or contests an argument from one of the assigned class readings?
10: The claim is identifiable and creative.
9: The claim is identifiable.
8: The claim could be clearer.
7: The claim is confusing.
6: There is no clear claim.
Does the paper present effective evidence for the claim in the form of excerpts and summaries of student field notes?
10: All evidence effectively supports the claim.
9: Some evidence supports the claim.
8: Evidence is used, but does not effectively support the claim.
7: Evidence is used sparsely.
6: There is no clear evidence.
Is the paper clearly structured and well-written with minimal spelling and grammatical mistakes?
10: The writing is expressive, easy to follow, and has few spelling or grammatical mistakes.
9: The writing is easy to follow and has few spelling or grammatical mistakes.
8: The writing has few spelling or grammatical mistakes, but could be more clearly structured.
7: The writing has significant spelling and grammatical mistakes and could be more clearly structured.
6: The writing has major structural and grammatical problems.
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