Week 9 (Nov 29)


  • Regional Political Ecology & Issues
  • Regional Environmental Policy/Issues

Faculty Facilitator:  Martha


  • 4:30 Thesis Presentation Heather Tschaekofske
  • 6pm Megan Addison, Sound Experience Internship Opportunity.
  • 6:05-7:30  Guest speaker John Zachara, Sr. Chief Scientist for Environmental Chemistry and Fundamental & Computational Sciences Directorate, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Richland WA, Hanford’s Environmental Remediation (nuclear material), The Hanford 300 Area (http://ifchanford.pnl.gov/)
  • 8-9:30  Guest speaker, Puget Sound History, Tim Quinn, Chief Scientist, Habitat Program, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

Wednesday: 4:30 Thesis Presentation Barbara Moeller


  • 4:30 Thesis Presentation Emily Wirtz
  • 6-7:30  Affinity Groups meet with each other and consult with faculty to organize panels and present outline of individual talks.
  • 8-9:45  Seminar

Seminar Reading: Nature’s Economy

Seminar Writing: In recognition of student work load on completing term papers, there is NO writing assignment this week.   There is, however, an important assignment, as follows:

First, some notes from Martha On Reading Worster! No, we did not save the worst for last! After years of assigning this book in the first week of gCORE (formerly known as Political, Economic, and Ecological Principles), I have come to the conclusion that students are more able to read this book at the end of the class. Why? Well, you can imagine being assigned this volume in the first week! No one even knew how to read it, let alone seminar on the tome. Second, this book has a history and context. It is helpful to know that history before you start reading it. I will give you some of that history in class.

Our goal in asking you to read this text is to know that you are now becoming part of a long tradition of thinking about nature and humans’ relationship to the environment. You should know what your ‘linage’ is, who the founders of this intellectual tradition are, and where you fit into this picture. I have stressed the social construction of nature. As an environmental historian, Worster asks us to know that social construction is a history of ideas. Nature is really an idea. Another environmental historian, Richard White, once published a book on the Columbia River and the dams. He writes in his volume, The Organic Machine, that the Columbia is a natural machine and that we are linked to it (relationship) by work. White writes “The hydraulics of the river sketched out a map of energy; this geography of energy was also a geography of labor” (White, 1995 p. 9). White is expressing an idea about the human relationship to nature. It is within this idea that ecologies, economies, and politics take shape.

Read Worster with an eye for ideas. Think about the ideas expressed by each of the philosophers and scientists Worster describes. Many ideas about nature are presented by artists and writers. Much of our contemporary landscape is based on ideas that are centuries old but very significant. Petersen’s “Epilogue” in River of Life, Channel of Death includes references to ancient ideas that inform the current ideas about nature in American society. Finally, what are your ideas about nature? Where do your ideas come from both in an abstract and real geographical context?

Your reading assignment for Week 9, Nature’s Economy:

Everyone will read Parts One and Six, and one other Part (sign up in seminar 11/18):

Choose one other Part, divide into pairs for Parts Two and Five and trios for Parts Three and Four. Collaborate with your partner(s) to summarize the main thesis and supporting arguments of the Part you have chosen, and to comment on/critique it.

Come to seminar in Week 9 ready to make a presentation about the Part you have read. We will inform each other and have a collective of ideas about the book. Use your read of Parts One and Six to help deconstruct and summarize the book (i.e., the part you have read). Be ready to say something about where your chapters fit into the broad scope of ideas presented in the text, and (as per above) where you fit in the picture.

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