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Be Here Now: Nature & Culture

This is a Community Based Learning section. This course will examine the idea of living in place, infusing one's life with a sense of connection to the human and ecological history and circumstances of a region. In the first half of the class, we will examine the philosophies of important writers and scholars who focus on the role of place including Gary Snyder, Annie Dillard, David Abram and Scott Russell Sanders. We will also think deeply about the places that have shaped our own lives and worldviews. In the second half of the class, we will concentrate on getting to know the place where we will be spending the next few years: California's Central Valley. The course will present an overview of the Valley's ecology, geography and environmental history, as well as contemporary environmental and social issues that currently shape our landscape. These issues include planning and development, immigration, environmental racism and efforts to create a more just and sustainable region. As a community-based learning section, students will spend ten hours working with a relevant local organization in order to better understand the nature of culture and the culture of nature in the Central Valley.