Landscapes are sites that people often take for granted; they are frequently understood as spaces in-between other things, or places that somehow exist in suspension: unchanging and untransformed. When we look more closely however, we find that landscapes are neither neutral nor empty. They are, rather, teeming with complexity and life. Indeed, landscapes are sites of intervention and negotiation: among humans, and also between humans and numerous living others.
This course explores landscape in its myriad imaginary and tangible forms: “pristine” wildernesses and productive farmlands, gardens and degraded post-industrial lots, vacant parcels and highly-designed urban parks. Investigating such landscapes through lectures, readings, discussions, and in-class exercises, we will study sites at many scales, from petri dish to globe. We will also discuss the work of engaging and intervening in landscapes, as practiced by landscape architects, environmental designers, ecologists, and others. Through these topics we will debate the nature of landscape and the very definition of nature, and we will question our human roles and responsibilities relative to the living environments of which we are a part.
Eligibility: Open to undergraduates