Course Details

050:310:02 - Approaches: Messing with Nature

  • Course ID: 050:310:02
  • Credits: 3
  • Instructor Name: Decker
  • Instructor (Core Faculty): Decker, Jefferson
  • SAS Core Curriculum Goals: WCd

This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary history, practice, and research methods that comprise American Studies. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the central approaches to the field, and to encourage students to explore and apply these approaches in their own work; every student should leave this class feeling prepared for more-advanced work. To demonstrate how diverse approaches can help tackle a specific issue, the course will focus primarily (though not exclusively) on the relationship between American society and the natural world. We will “mess around” with the concept of nature from a variety of perspectives. We will also think about the categories of “natural” and “unnatural” and the consequences—intended or otherwise—of defying them. Assignments include memoir, fiction, art criticism, history, and narrative film.