Wk 5.2: No class today – London, Leopold

  1. Halfway!
  2. Complete Quiz 6 Discussion post – London, Leopold – by midnight
  3. Meet with your presentation group
  4. The legacy of “To Build a Fire” (Canvas/Pages/View All Pages/To Build a Fire…):
    1. Nexus Studios
    2. Krakauer’s Into the Wild – letter to J. Krakauer
    3. Jeremiah Johnson (1972), directed by Sydney Pollack
    4. Empire Strikes Back (1980)
    5. The Revenant (2015)
  5. HW: Discussion Post #4 due Friday
  6. Extra Credit Discussion Post due Friday
  7. HW for Monday: Visit your site (but no SJ due)
  8. HW for Monday: Read: Kerouac and Lopez in Literature and Environment anthology, and Anzaldua’s “El Retorno” (Canvas/Files/Readings)
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Week 5 day 1: Indigenous People’s Day, Muir, Thoreau

thumbnail_Cheyenne Event Poster

  1. Indigenous People’s Day! At DU, we acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land we are on today, the Cheyenne, Arapaho and other indigenous nations, and pay our respect to their elders past and present.
  2. Site Journal 3 due in Canvas
  3. Exam 1: Grades are posted. Will return exams on W 10/13 in class.
  4. Muir and Thoreau quiz
  5. Where Can I Camp? Group Presentation #1
  6. Thoreau and “Higher Laws,” Ch. 11 of Walden. His “Civil Disobedience” remains timely: “Can there not be a government in which the majorities do not virtually decide right and wrong, but conscience? . . . Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then?”
  7. Muir and “A Windstorm in the Forest”
  8. Screening: Muir, Pinchot, and Hetch Hetchy: The National Parks – America’s Best Idea episode 2
  9. HW: Read London’s “To Build a Fire” and Leopold’s “Thinking Like a Mountain” in anthology

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Wk 4.2 – Exam 1

thumbnail_Cheyenne Event Poster

  • Exam 1
  • Extra Credit: M 10/11, 7:30pm, Gates Concert Hall: Nothing Lives Long, Only the Earth,
    Honor in the Face of Death & Cheyenne Chief White Antelope’s Song
  • Homework for M 10/11:
    • Due: Site Journal #3 entry before the leaves fall.
    • Read: Muir’s “A Wind-Storm in the Forest”; Thoreau’s “Higher Laws” – both in Literature and the Environment
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Group Presentations: Prep Work

In your presentation groups, complete the following:

  1. Each member report on what they’ve done since last week.
  2. Create and refine the scope and focus of your presentation.
  3. Consider the organization of the presentation: who will introduce and begin the presentation? When will each person speak and what will they speak about?
  4. How will your group create and organize the powerpoint/slides?
  5. Each group will include up to 5 minutes of a video(s). What video can you show the class?
  6. Which group members will facilitate the whole class discussion?
  7. Create a list of 8 or so discussion questions for the class (hint: begin the questions with who/what/why/how?).
  8. Decipher next steps for the presentation. Who will do what and when?
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Wk 4.1 Chavez, Cisneros, Exam #1 Review


Denise Chavez

  1. Chavez and Cisneros quiz
  2. Group Presentations work
  3. Eco-criticism and Claims
  4. Exam Review

Exam 1 is a combination of passage identification questions and two essay questions. The exam will cover the readings we have done so far, including the shorter pieces by Standing Bear, Owens, Chavez, Anaya, hooks, Cisneros, and the eco-criticism essays, as well as the longer texts by Galvin and Wright.

The passage identification portion will ask you to identify important passages from the readings (that is, identify the author and text), and then briefly explain the quote’s significance. Here’s an example of passage identification:

“There is about them no awareness, no acuteness, and it is this dullness that gives ugly mannerisms full play.”

Answer: Standing Bear, “Nature.” He is discussing how white youth are raised, in contrast to native youth, who are alert to their surroundings. One result is that white boys hang out on street corners and jostle one another, instead of developing a sense of awareness for the natural world.

The essay questions will emphasize the longer readings (Galvin and Wright) and will ask you to synthesize the material, to compare and contrast similarities between texts, and to use your skills as eco-critics. Your exams will be graded according to the quality and thoroughness of your answers, including the complexity of your main claims and the use of text to support them with specific examples. It is worth 80 points (20% of your final grade).

To study, I would suggest the following:

  • If you haven’t read everything, complete the readings. If you have, re-read as necessary.
  • Think about the role of interconnectedness in each of the texts: in what ways are the characters, the environment, the eco-systems, and the communities connected to one another?
  • Go back through the texts and consider how nature and human nature are represented in each of the texts.
  • Examine similarities and differences between the longer texts, particularly from an eco-critical perspective.
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Wk 3.2 Wright’s “Big Boy Leaves Home”

  1. Wright “Big Boy” quiz and discussion, including Riverside and When the Levees Broke
  2. The Great Migration, as African Americans relocate out of the Jim Crow South
  3. Lynching in the US: some background
  4. Without Sanctuary, with Billie Holliday’s “Strange Fruit”
  5. Life and Times of Richard Wright
  6. Wright’s ongoing relevance: Vice documentary about Charlottesville 2017.
  7. And one year later
  8. HW: Due Friday: Discussion Post #3 on Wright (links above will help).
  9. HW For Monday: Read Chavez “Crossing Bitter Creek” (in Lit and Environment); read: Cisneros “Four Skinny Trees (Canvas/Files/Readings), visit your site, prepare for Exam 1 by re-reading and catching up on missed readings.

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Wk 3.1: Wright’s Down By the Riverside

Richard Wright

  1. Quiz
  2. Presentation Groups and Presentation Dates
  3. Submit your Site Journal #2 link in Canvas
  4. PBS’ The Great Flood of 1927 is helpful, including the vintage footage.
  5. US National Archives: Coverage of the 1927 flood
  6. The Weather Channel’s documentary contains more footage and expert talking heads. There are many parallels between the 1927 flood and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, as seen in Spike Lee’s When the Levees Broke.
  7. Cool version of the spiritual “Down by the Riverside” featuring Grandpa Elliott from Playing for Change.

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Week 2.2: Eco-criticism

bell hooks
bell hooks (photo credit: Spencer Cohn, 2013)
  1. Quiz on hooks, What is Eco-criticism? essays
  2. Group Presentations: Ballot of Potential Topics
  3. Site Journals: Links, Questions, feedback. See Some Things to Do at your Site.
  4. What is Eco-Criticism?
  5. Discussion post 2 due Friday: Eco-critical analysis of Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima (Canvas/Files/Readings)
  6. hooks’ “Touching the Earth” provides context for next week readings by Richard Wright and for eco-feminism (in a few weeks).
  7. Screening: Occurrence at Owl Creek  Bridge
  8. HW for Friday: Discussion post 2: Ecocriticism
  9. HW for Monday: Site Journal #2, Richard Wright’s “Down By the Riverside” (advice and a heads up)
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Wk 2.1: Standing Bear, Owens, and Genesis


  1. Quiz 2
  2. Fall equinox tomorrow
  3. Group Presentations: Brainstorming
  4. Site Journals: A) Email me your site journal URLs, if you haven’t. B) Post a link to your first post in Canvas/Discussions/Site Journal 1. C) If you emailed me last week/weekend, check to see if your link works (to the right)
  5. Canvas/Settings: Notifications. Set the following to ASAP: Announcements, Submission Comment, and all three options under Conversation.
  6. Standing Bear, Owens, and Genesis
  7. HW: read: hooks’ Touching the Earth (Canvas/Files/Readings).
  8. HW: read: What is Ecocriticism? (Canvas/Files/Readings). Read short essays by Cook, Dean, Glotfelty, Scheese, Slovic.
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Wk 1.2: Meadow, Day 2

  1. Announcements
  2. Quiz 1
  3. Assign Naturalist’s site journal. Entry 1 due Monday before class
  4. Canvas Settings: Notifications.
  5. In-class writing (see below)
  6. Create WordPress blogs. 
  7. Go to your blog. Book mark it.
  8. Copy your blog URL (blog web address). And then send me an email with your blog address (URL) in the body of the email.
  9. You’ll create a new post for your first site journal entry. With photos.
  10. HW for Monday: read Standing Bear, Owens (in anthology); read Genesis ch. 1-3

In-class Writing: Choose one of the following  a recurring themes or patterns in The Meadow. What are two examples from the text that illustrate this pattern? How so? Type your response and save on your laptop.

  • A litany of loosely patterned weather, a chronicle of circular successions (3).
  • Going forward, looking back (13, 34).
  • The price of independence is slavery (11).
  • Memory and loss.
  • The Old West vs. the New West
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