Satisfies requirements for: BS, PitE Practical Experience, Biology Lab, and EEB Field/Research
Meets: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
Instructor: Marjorie Weber
This course will use the study and observation of trees as a model for understanding the powerful tools human have developed for critically observing the world around them.
Trees are highly charismatic, socially relevant organisms that have held a special place in art, science, and society throughout human history. However, like any other object of importance, the ways in which trees are represented and understood is shaped by the information, tools, and biases of one’s current perspective. What is a tree, and how should we treat it? Ask a gardener, a farmer, a politician, a scientist, an economist, a child, an artist: they will each give a different answer. Which is “correct”? How do you integrate myriad perspectives, long-held biases, and conflicting agendas to decide what you observe and think? In this course, we will step back to explore new and old tools that humans have developed in science, art, and philosophy to ask: what does it mean to really see for ourselves? Hone your ability to think critically and cut through the noise through the study of trees.
…the question is not what you look at–but how you look and whether you see. (Thoreau 1851)