CIVILIZATION

IN THE WEST:

BOOKS, BEASTS, AND BEING HUMAN

 

First-Year Experience/

History 105

Blocks 3-4

2013-14

a two-block course fulfilling

the Critical Perspectives:

West in Time requirement

and the entry levels of the History, History-Political Science, History-Philosophy, and Classics-History-Politics majors

and of the History and Book minors

 

from from a fourteenth-century British Library manuscript--a knight battling a snail

 

from theearly sixteenth century, Albrecht Duerer's engraving of a rhinoceros

   

Instructor:  

Carol Neel, Professor of History, Palmer 233

              Phone 389-6527, e-mail cneel@coloradocollege.edu

              Office hours 8:45-9:30 daily

Student mentor:

Caitlyn McCarty, History major

               Phone 301-602-0701, e-mail Caitlyn.McCarty@coloradocollege.edu

 

 

Course description and requirements 

During these two blocks, students will consider how humankind's relationship with the natural world has for millenia been mediated by books.  In so doing, they will begin thoughtful encounter with classical Mediterranean, medieval European, and modern global civilizations.  Course participants will ask how peoples' and cultures' relationship with the cosmos, the landscape, and with other living things has informed their social relations, political order, and ideational constructs.  Classroom discussion will address primary texts and images, works by people of the past, in cultural context.  Secondary readings will introduce students to critical perspectives on the relationship between the past and present of perspectives on the natural worlds.  Throughout, students will be challenged to develop mutually supportive skills in reading, conversation, research, and writing.

During Block 1, students will each complete one two-page response paper and one six- to eight- page critical essay as well as a group study for oral/written presentation and an oral group final based on individually prepared essays.  During Block 2, course participants will craft eight- to ten-page individual research papers improved by group critique and a take-home essay exam on teh material of both blocks.  All written assignments will address questions framed collectively and discussed in detail by the entire group.  Class discussion will be an important element throughout both blocks, and students excused from class for illness or other prearranged circumstances will prepare two-page summaries of the readings assigned for those sessions.  Assessment will be based one half on discussion contribution/collaborative projects and one half on individual written submissions.  Papers will be turned in as hard copies to the instructor's "in" box in the History suite by the stated deadlines.  Research essays will cite courses according The Chicago Manual of Style.  All work must be prepared according and in written acknowledgement of the Colorado College Honor Code.

Class activities will include forays into Tutt Library's Special Collections, the Press at Colorado College, and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

 

Course materials

The following books, listed here in order of their appearance in the syllabus, are available for purchase in the Colorado College Bookstore.  Some of the texts represented in these editions are available in other translations, but it will be helpful if class members use the same translations so that we can refer to specific pages and passages during our discussions.  If students avail themselves of discounted prices from internet merchants, they should be careful to find the editions listed:

 

The following further works and excerpts will be available on the course’s PROWL website:  

 

The following website will be a resource for group research:

Aberdeen Bestiary (http://www.abdn.ac.uk/bestiary/)

 

The following films will be subjects for common discussion; copies for review will be available from the instructor:

Michael Apted, dir., Nell (2004).

Tom Moore and Norah Twomey, dirs., The Secret of Kells (2009).

Jean-Jacques Annaud, dir., The Name of the Rose (1986).

François Truffaut, dir., The Wild Child (1970).

Jon Amiel, dir., Creation (2009).

 

Schedule of readings, meetings, written work and presentations

Discussion session will regularly be at 9:30 in Palmer 233, unless otherwise noted.  Special scheduling is as noted below in bold face and deadlines for written assignments in bolded italics..

 

BLOCK 3

Week 1 (Septmeber 1)--History, nature, and natural history

Monday

Introduction 9:00 am

Second 1:00 pm meeting

THINKING ABOUT NATURE AND CIVILIZATION

Afternoon screening: Nell

 

Tuesday

ENVISIONING NATURE AT THE MILLENIUM

Reading: Bryson 3-206

Wednesday

YOU, NELL, AND BILL BRYSON

Reading:Bryson 207-394

Thursday

LEAVING THE WOODS FOR THE WALLS

Two-page response paper due 2:00 pm

Reading:Gilgamesh

Friday

THE ROMANS AND THE BEASTS OUTSIDE THE CITY

Reading: Pliny 3-73

Week 2 (September 8)--Ancient knwoledge and a living cosmos

Monday

EMPIRE, MORAL CHARACTER, AND HUMAN NATURE

Reading: Pliny 74-127

Tuesday

THE STRUCTURE OF THE UNIVERSE IN LATE ANTIQUITY

Reading: Boethius 3-57

Wednesday

PROVIDENCE AND FATE

Reading: Boethius 58-93

Thursday

1 pm meeting

Individual morning meetings with instructor

Afternoon Press orientation with printer Aaron Cohick (Taylor Hall)

Development of individual critcial essay topics 

Friday

Screening: The Secret of Kells

Reading: Aberdeen Bestiary

Week 3 (September 15)--The Christian world view

Monday

HUMANKIND IN CREATION

Reading: Ugolino 1-42

Tuesday

Second 1 pm meeting

ECOLOGY AND SANCTITY

Afernoon screening: The Name of the Rose

Reading: Ugolino 47-83, 117-118

Wednesday

Special Collections orientation with librarian Jessy Randall (Special Collections, Tutt Library)

Group project workshops

Thursday

Bestiary project presentations

Development of group bestiary papers

Friday

THE RENAISSANCE OUTDOORS

Group bestiary papers due in class

Reading: Petrarch, Greenblatt 14-134

 

Week 4 (September 22)--The return to ancient paradigms

Monday

HISTORY, NATURE, AND ACCIDENT

Six- to eight-page individual critical essays due in class

Reading: Greenblatt 135-266

Tuesday

Review discussion

 Oral final study groups

Wednesday Group take-home/oral exams  

 

BLOCK 4

Week 1 (September 30)--Scientific Revolution and Being in Nature

Monday

THE SMALLEST THINGS

AND THE MUSIC OF THE SPHERES

Reading: Kepler (entire English text), reprise of Greenblatt

Tuesday

PRINTING AND EUROPEAN SOCIETY

Man 21-140
Wednesday PRINTING AND THE COMMUNITY OF KNOWLEDGE Man 141-281

Thursday

PRINTED BOOKS AND THE BOOK OF NATURE Reading: Johns
Friday SEEKING A NEWER WORLD Reading: Voltaire 19-72

Week 2 (October 6)--Reception of a Newer World

Monday

Second 1 pm meeting

OLD AND NEW IN CONTRAST

Afternoon research skills session with librarian Mimi Wheatwind (TLC 2, Tutt Library)

Reading: Voltaire 73-144

Tuesday

READING/RESEARCH DAY

Reading: Allin 1-112

Choice of research paper topics

Wednesday

Second 1 pm meeting

CONQUEST AND ENLIGHTENED EUROPE

Morning creening: Wild Child

Afternoon Press workshop (Taylor Hall)

Reading: Allin 113-198

 

Thursday

No class meeting

Individual meetings with instructor

Research paper prospectus due 2:00 pm

Development of research paper topics

Friday NATURAL FITNESS Reading: Darwin 3-7, 60-127

Week 3 (October 13)--Animals and mankind

Monday

Individual research presentations

Pecha kucha

Research presentation preparation

Tuesday

Class starting 8:30 am

EVOLUTION AND THE SWERVE

Screening: Creation

Reading: Darwin 430-507

Wednesday

No class meeting

Morning research paper workshops

Peer criticism of paper drafts

Thursday

Zoo field trip

Readings: Group zoo history materials

Friday

NATURE IN CAPTIVITY

Zoo history presentations

Preparation of group zoo history discussions

Week 4 (October 20)--Mankind as animals

Monday

NATURE, HUMAN NATURE, AND THE TWENTIETH CENTURY

Reading: Freud (entire text)

Tuesday

Breakfast 9:30 am 2404 Constellation

Review discussion

Final versions of research papers due in class

Individual review and completion of research paper drafts

Wednesday

Take-home exam due noon

Exam completion

 

 

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES

This course's research tools sessions will introduce students to many web-based collections useful for the preparation of assignments and further exploration.  It will also urge critical techniques for the assessment of WWW sites.  The following solid websites are a beginning to useful web research:

for Mediterranean antiquity--Perseus, at Tufts

for the European Middle Ages--the Labyrinth, at Georgetown

for an individual bestiary--the Aberdeen Bestiary

for the modern world--the Modern History Sourcebook, at Fordham

 

 

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