Reading the Landscape
How do you come to understand places? Whether you are in the city or the country, the landscape tells a story about its environment, history, and use. Through readings by authors like William Cronon, watching videos of environmental artists and designers, and observing views and compositions during walks, we will develop your landscape reading skills. This process will help you integrate information to understand a particular place in new ways. For instance, you will conduct a study of a place you are familiar with; perhaps you will begin to see the ways a land-form is shaped and how agricultural use left its mark on today's urban forest in your neighborhood park. This kind of landscape literacy will help you see familiar places with new eyes; it also trains you to understand, interpret, and enjoy new places more readily. This class is especially appropriate for students who enjoy the out-of-doors or are interested in travel. One Saturday trip to New York City focuses on the interaction between the history of the city’s development and current political and social issues.