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Nature the the City Syllabus

Nature the the City Syllabus

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Published by AnthonyPaulSmith
A syllabus for a Freshman seminar at DePaul University that considered the themes of urban ecology from philosophical, scientific, and cultural perspectives.
A syllabus for a Freshman seminar at DePaul University that considered the themes of urban ecology from philosophical, scientific, and cultural perspectives.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: AnthonyPaulSmith on Feb 03, 2013
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08/11/2013

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1
NatureandtheCity
FocalPointSeminar(LSP112‐314)McGowanSouthRoom206[M/W2:40pm‐4:10pm]Instructor:Dr.AnthonyPaulSmith(anthonypaul.smith@gmail.com)773‐931‐9570(cell)Officehours:Byappointmentonly
CourseDescription
Asthescienceofecologyhelpsustounderstandthenaturalworldbetterweseethattheolddichotomyofnatureandthecitynolongerworks.Thatisbecauseecologyteachesusthatcitiesarealsoecosystemsandthereissomeevidencethattheywillbevitallyimportantinanyresilientresponsetotheecologicalcrisis.Wedon’tneedtoleavethecitytoexperiencenature,becausethecityisalreadyinnature.Butthisalsorequiresarethinkingofnature,nolongercannaturesimplybesomething“overthere”butispartofoureverydaylifeasurbancitizens.Inthiscoursewewillexplorethemeaningofboth“nature”and“thecity”.Wewillbeginbylookingatthewaynatureandthecityusedtobeseparatedandhowbothweregivenanidentitybyopposingonetotheother.Wewillthenexaminethecollapseofthisdichotomy,focusingonhowthatcollapsehasbeenexperiencedasanaturaldisasterorthereturnofnatureinhumancities.ThisintertwiningofasavagenatureandasavagecitywillbeexaminedthroughJGBallard’sre‐tellingofRobinsonCrusoein
ConcreteIsland 
beforeturningtoamorepositivewaytounderstandthisbreakdown.Finallyasaclasswewillparticipateintheecosystemthatisourcitybyparticipatinginaecologicalrestorationactivity.Bytheendofthiscourseyouwillgainanunderstandingofhowconceptslike“nature”and“thecity”gainvalueandmeaningandyouwillcometoseeChicago,ourcity,asawildspace,anecosystem,wherethedramaofnatureplaysout.
LearningOutcomes
Uponcompletingthecoursethestudentshouldbeableto:
 
engagewithmultipledisciplinesandmedia,fromphilosophicalwritingstonovels,inordertoinvestigateandunderstandaconcept(inthiscasenatureandthecity).
 
identifyandexplainthedifferentconceptionsofnatureandthecityfoundinourtexts;
 
beabletoidentifythecentralthemesandargumentsofthetextsandstatetheminaclearandsympatheticwayinclassdiscussion;
 
beabletoformulatecriticismsinawaythatisattentivetotheoriginalauthor’sintentandargumentation.
GradeSummary
Therewillbetwotests(comprisedofshort‐answerquestionsandessayquestions),onewrittenresponsetoasetquestioneachweek,andafinalpaper(10‐pages,double‐spaced).Eachtestwillcountfor15%(foratotalof30%)ofyourfinalgrade,theseminarwriting(5‐pages,double‐spaced)willcountfor15%,yourseminarpresentation/leadingwillcountfor10%,andthefinalpaperwillcountfor30%,andfinally15%forclassroomparticipation.
 
2
Itisimportantthatyoudonotmissaclassandespeciallyanexam.Anymake‐upforthein‐classexamswillonlybegivenduetoextremesituations,andthisisdoneveryrarely.
Youmusthavepriorpermissionfromtheinstructortotakeamake-up
.ThepaperisdueviaDesire2Learn(clickthe“Dropbox”tab)ormyemailbytheendoftheday(11:59PM)on
ThursdayJune7
th
.
Thepaperistobesubmittedelectronicallyonly 
.
IpreferthatthepaperbeaPDF.
Detailsconcerningthepaper(itsformatandcontent)willbepassedoutafterthefirstexam.Latepaperswillnotbeaccepted.Cheating/plagiarismwillbedealtwithastheseriousinfractionsthattheyare,possiblyleadingtofailure;seetheStudentHandbookfordetails.Ingroupsof2youwillpreparetoleadaseminar.Forthisyouwillneedtosummarizetheimportantpartsofthereading,fillusinonsomebackgroundinformation,andcomeupwithdiscussionquestions.Youmustwriteatleast
5pages(double-spaced)
ofpreparationandturnthisintomeforpartofyourseminargrade.Youareencouragedtousemedia(powerpoint,shortfilmsclips,etc.).
CellPhoneandLaptopPolicy
WhileIunderstandtheaddictiontocellphones,especiallysmartphones,thematerialwearestudyingisverydifficultandthereforerequiresyourundividedattention.Ifyouarecaughtusingyourphoneduringalectureyouwillbegivenonewarning(eitherverballyorbyemail).Ifyouarecaughtasecondtimeormoreyouwillfaceareductionoffivepointsforeachoffensefromyourhighestscoringpieceofcoursework.
Pleaseturnallcellphonesoffduringthelecture
.IfIcandoit,socanyou.
Laptopsareacceptableintheclass,butfornotetakingonly.Ifyouappearnottobepayingattentionbecauseyou’redistractedbysomethingnon‐lecturerelatedonyourlaptopthenIwillaskyoutoreadthelastlineofnotesyouhavejustwritten.Ifyoucan’tthenyouwillbegivenawarning(eitherverballyorbyemail).Ifyouarecaughtasecondtimeormoreyouwillfaceareductionoffivepointsforeachoffensefromyourhighestscoringpieceofcoursework.
Desire2Learn
PleasemakesurethatyouchecktheemailattachedtoyourDesire2Learnprofile.Iwillbesendingemailstothataddress.Allcoursedocuments,powerpoints,audiooflectures,andotherhelpfullinkswillbeavailableontheDesire2Learncoursepage.
RemarksonLectures,Readings,Films,andClassroomDiscussions
Wearedealingwithadultthemesandarangeofdifferentbeliefsystemsinthisclass.Youwillbeexposedtodifferentwaysofthinkingbothinthereadings,thelectures,anddiscussionsinclass.Attimesyoumayfindyourselfoffendedbyoneormoreoftheideaspresentedandwhenyouarenotoffendedafellowclassmatemaywellbe.Thisisok!Whileofcourseverbalorphysicalabuseisstrictlynottolerated,wehavetogiveeachotherpermissiontobeoffensive(withintheboundsofrespectfuldiscourse)andtobeoffended.Byremaininginthiscourseyouareagreeingtohaverespectfulconversationsaboutawiderangeofdifferentbeliefs.
Thisgoesespeciallyforthefilmsandclipswewillwatchinclass.AttimesIhavechosenmaterialthatmaybeoffensivetosome.Somefilmswillberated‐RandsomeclipsfromTVshowswillberatedTV‐MA.Byremainingenrolledinthisclassafterthefirstsessionyouareenteringintoanon‐verbalagreementthatyouunderstandandacceptyouwillbeaskedtowatchthesefilmsandclips.
 
3
RequiredTexts

 
Coursereader(foundonD2L)withselectionsfrom:
o
 
WilliamCronin,
Nature’sMetropolis
(Norton)
o
 
MikeDavis,
PlanetofSlums
(Verso)
o
 
MikeDavis,
EcologyofFear:LosAngelesandtheImaginationofDisaster 
(Vintage)
o
 
MicheldeCerteau,“WalkingintheCity”in
ThePracticeofEverydayLife
(UniversityofCaliforniaPress)
o
 
BillMcKibben,
TheEndofNature
(Anchor)
o
 
HenryDavidThoreau,“Walking”in
Walden
(publicdomain)
 
JGBallard,
ConcreteIsland
(Picador)
 
BrunoLatour,
WeHaveNeverBeenModern
(HarvardUP)
OutlineofCourseandReadingSchedule
Readingslistedaretobereadforthatclassperiod.IfthereadingislistedunderSeptember14th,itistobereadpriortotheSeptember14
th
sessionofclass.Thescheduleand proceduresforthiscoursearesubjecttochangeintheeventofextenuatingcircumstances;changeswillbeannouncedinclass.

Eachclasswillconsistoflectureandorganizedgroupdiscussionofthetext.
March26
th
Introduction
Part1:LeavingtheCitytoBeinNature
March28
th
WalkingOutoftheCityintoNature

Seminar1
Thoreau,pp.130(coursereader)April2
nd
TheEndofNature
Seminar2
McKibben,pp.4793(coursereader)April4
th
WalkingintheCity
deCerteau,pp.91110(coursereader)
Part2:NatureAttackingtheCity 
April9
th

NaturalDisasters
Seminar3
Davis,
EcologyofFear 
,selectionsfromChapter1(coursereader)April11
th
TheStateofNatureintheSlums
Seminar3

Davis,
PlanetofSlums
,pp.121‐150(coursereader)

April16
th

RobinsonCrusoe
(film)April18
th
TheCityasWildNatureI
Seminar4
Ballard,pp.160April23
rd
TheCityasWildNatureII
Ballard,pp.61120

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