Skip to Content

Search: {{$root.lsaSearchQuery.q}}, Page {{$}}

The Art of Observation - English 221/WGS 213-201/AMCULT 311-202


3 credits

Prerequisites: None 

Satisfies requirements for: Humanities (HU) LSA Area Distribution Requirements, Foundations & Methods (200-level) for English majors and minors

Meets: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday

Instructor: Lauren Gwin

Course Description

This course will introduce students to a humanities-based framework for observation. Using the landscape as our guide, we will explore the ways in which stories and narrative influence our understanding of what it means to learn from or know the world around us. Our observational skills will be honed by close reading poetry, nonfiction, and fiction written about, in, and in relationship with the natural world (with a focus on the Great Lakes region) and through a variety of exercises in nature journaling, personal reflection, and site visits to the lakes, waterways, and forests of Cheboygan County. 

Together we will ask: how might observational work drawn from the humanities differ from scientific observation? What kinds of meaning can be created when objects are approached with a different set of priorities and questions? In order to explore this more fully, we will shadow Biological Station students conducting field experiments and identify questions that emerge in conversation with our course readings, discussions, and writing practices. Formal projects will use the patterns that we observe (such as tendrils, branches, mycelial networks) to structure micro essays about our learning experiences at the Biological Station.