Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Thursday October 8
Per the announcement in class, please post a question relevant to the selection from Ernestine Hayes's Blonde Indian in the comment section here. As we did on Tuesday, you'll want to post a question that you might ask the author, as she'll be visiting our class on Thursday.
See you Thursday,
PS: In case you misplaced your hard copy, I've pasted the text of the writing assignment below. Remember that we're asking you to take a draft to the learning center, so you probably want to get started on the assignment straight away. It's due next Thursday, October 15.
Humanities 120--Assignment #2:
Our goal in this section of Humanities 120 is to attend to the overarching question of how story, words, and images inform our sense of the world. All of the texts we have read in this section attempt to come to terms with how we ought to interact with the natural world, making claims (sometimes implicitly) about how we should engage with Alaska's landscapes and animals. That is, these are all stories that are about Alaska, Alaskan animals, or about a sense of place.
To give you an idea of what I mean, recall that I argued in lecture that Eliza Scidmore's 1893 Appleton's Guidebook asked nineteenth century tourists to see the landscape in terms of glacial history and potential wealth, while re-peopling an already storied landscape with tales about explorers and travelers. Sherry Simpson's more recent meditations on Alaska also ask us to think about how maps, placenames, and stories shape our interactions with the natural world. Werner Herzog and Nick Jans both explore Timothy Treadwell's bizarre attempt to forge a relationship with Alaska's wild bears, playing with and amplifying mythic ideas of these animals and our state. In The Glacier Wolf, Nick Jans tells of his experiences here in Southeast, ultimately telling stories that ask us to interact with place and animals in particular ways. Finally, Ernestine Hayes's compelling memoir Blonde Indian offers stories about a deeper sense of place, asking us to attend to history and story as we consider what it means to live in Alaska.
Your assignment, then, is to continue thinking about Alaska, animals, and place, composing a 2-3 page essay focusing on one of these texts. In this short essay you should first assess the point of view presented in the text you choose and then offer your own position on the issue you find of central importance in the text. You can frame your essay as a response to any number of questions, and you can make almost any argument that you want—the only guidelines are that you think carefully about your own sense of place or your relation to animals and that you address the sense of either Alaska or animals presented in one of the texts. This means that you should offer a quotation or two, and you should attentively "read" this quotation to make your point, but more importantly you should express your own position.