Thursday, August 23, 2007

From Wilderness Aesthetics to Ethics

We've just learnt about a new course called "From Wilderness Aesthetics to Ethics" run by the Environmental Ethics Institute at the University of Montana - It is focused on Wilderness Aesthetics and Ethics in North America and looks interesting:

"Historically, in the United States wilderness preservation was motivated by primarily aesthetic concerns. For example, Thomas Moran’s paintings of Yellowstone were decisive in creating Yellowstone National Park. In the 19th century there was a direct link between wilderness aesthetics and an environmental ethics focused on preservation. The connection between wilderness aesthetics and environmental ethics is evident in the works of painters like Moran, and essayists like Emerson, Thoreau and Muir. These artists created a legacy where conservation efforts are to an important degree built on the aesthetic appreciation of nature—the experience of the sublime. This legacy has come to be called 'the received wilderness ideal.' However, over the last several decades this legacy has been severely criticized." - Learn more.
The course is 100% online and discussion based. As the course leaders say:
"It will be your chance to collaborate with great minds from around the world who are passionate about this specific topic."
Registration deadline is the 10th of October. Here's the course outline for convenience:

Week 1:
The Wilderness Tradition in American Thought Deconstructing Wilderness: Cronin. Why the Wilderness Ideal should be preserved: Sagoff Kant and Emerson

Week 2:
Wilderness and Transcendence: Thoreau, Muir, Dillard and Snyder

Week 3:
Wilderness Transcendence and Preservation: Slide Show, Leopold

Week 4:
The Great New Wilderness Debate: Guha, Naess, Rolston, Callicot, Cronin and Mann

Week 5:
Preserving the Tradition: Rolston, Carlson, Saito

Week 6:
Review and open discussion: What were some key issues in the course? What surprised you most? What would you like to know more about?

They also have another online course called The History of Environmental Thought and Ideas.

Also, do see our 'A few Wilderness Resources for Academics' article.

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