Newsletter #2

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Newsletter #2

Post by Josephine Livingstone on Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:21 pm

Dear reader,

Yesterday was the first day of class up at Columbia. The enrolled students receive exactly the same weekly material as you, so they'd all read C. S. Lewis's "Nature" from Studies in Words (1960).

This week's readings cluster around the theme of "the garden of knowledge." We are not yet in the medieval period proper. Instead, we begin with texts that defined medieval thought—Aristotle and the Hebrew Bible—as well as some crucially important contemporary texts on the Nature-concept. Your excerpted readings are as follows:

[url=]The Book of Genesis[/url]
Aristotle, Physics
                 and Metaphysics
Bruno Latour, We Have Never Been Modern
William Howarth, ‘Some Principles of Ecocriticism.’

Sorry about the marginal notes and underlining in the Latour—they're not mine! The Latour is full of terms of his own coinage, so try to read the excerpt with a limber mind, not worrying too much about the precise definition of each word. The Howarth is much easier, and will introduce you to ecocriticism (including a bibliography) in a solid way.

Please pay special attention to the Aristotle excerpts, as it is important that you get to grips with the Greek term phusis as he uses it. For help with phusis, you can turn back to the Lewis essay: he starts a good discussion of the term at page 33.

Some questions to think about:

Why is man created twice in Genesis?
Contra Latour and Howarth, do you think a division between Nature and Culture is defensible?
If so, how would you defend it?
What academic discipline would you nominate to study "wilderness"?

All the best,

Josephine Livingstone

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