manities Project What does Nature look like in your major, future career aspiration, graduate study plan, personal life, or community engagement work?...
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Final Public Humanities Project  *Public Humanities Project

HUM 175, Fall 2015

What does “Nature” look like in your major, future career aspiration, graduate study plan, personal life, or community engagement work? Throughout the second half of the semester you will be working on a project that addresses a particular aspect of the Environmental Humanities found in your particular field or interest area. Projects may address any aspect of Southwest studies, but must address the core themes of the course. Instead of analyzing the public humanities, students will create a public humanities project. These projects may include, but are not limited to, a museum exhibit, public awareness event proposal, educational lesson plan for primary or secondary education, creative writing piece, photography project, artistic interpretation (using any medium), or traditional academic research paper. The choice of topics and mediums is completely up to you, however, there will be multiple process stages involved in this project, and students will be responsible keeping up with the process stages—no matter what type of project they chose. [Physical projects will require written descriptions and analyses.] You will also need to meet with your professor, one-on-one, to discuss your project idea in the semester.

Written explorations:

If you have chosen a wholly written exploration for your project, (research paper, philosophical essay, creative writing piece, etc.), please write 5-7 pages, typed, double spaced, 1 inch margins, MLA format. Also, be sure to include a works cited page for all outside research. 

Visual exploration:

If you have chosen a visual exploration, you must include a 2-3 page explanation of your visual. This must include your 1) thesis, 2) an explanation of your supporting evidence (3-4 weekly readings/course material from the second half of the semester) and how they contextualize your project, 3) why you chose your medium and how it connects to your interests, and 4) a detailed description of the ways in which your visual illustrates your claims.

The visual may come in many forms (as discussed above and in class), and if you have specific questions on specific ideas for projects, see Dr. Capaldo for advising.

All projects are DUE on Tuesday, December 15th @ 9:30am [9:35am class] and Thursday, December 17th @10:00am [2:20pm class] (as outlined in the Final Exam Schedule).  A hard copy of all written work, or physical version of all visual work, is due to Dr. Capaldo in the Riles building, room #116 by the date and time stated above. Late projects will not be accepted.

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Reconciling Water Scarcity and Tourism: Why the Controversy Over Development on the San Francisco Peaks Should Still Matter to the West By Kyle Boggs : July 9, 2014 : High Country News I’m still thinking about last February’s “Dew Downtown,” Flagstaff’s third annual ski and snowboard festival, which transformed a steep downtown road into a winter playground of snow-covered runs and what looked like death-defying jumps. In the crowd, scattered among the thousands of families and younger beer drinkers who used words like “shred” and “stoked,” were a group of protesters who were there for a much different message. Their message: Water is scarce in Arizona. Arizona, like much of the West, was experiencing one of the driest winters on record, and at the time of the event, Flagstaff was in the thick of it. When the local newspaper printed article after article, simultaneously musing over the city’s preparation for the event and the reality of our lack of precipitation, one question became central: Where would the city get enough water to make artificial snow? Its answer: Over 300,000 gallons of Flagstaff’s drinking water would be diverted so the show could go on. Making snow from any source of water has long been a contentious issue in Flagstaff, Ever since the Arizona Snowbowl ski resort started making snow in order to expand its operations more than a decade ago, there have been protests, including road blockades, tree-sits, lockdowns and other nonviolent demonstrations. More than 50 people have been arrested. Many of those protesting the Dew Downtown event have spent years arguing with the resort, their central point being: As long as water is scarce, water should not be used for recreation. Just a month after Dew Downtown, neighboring Williams, Arizona, announced that it faced a water crisis and was imposing “level 4” restrictions. A week later, the U.S. Department of Agriculture declared that all of Arizona was officially in a drought. By mid-April, the Flagstaff area had already suffered at least half a dozen wildfires. Recently, the devastating Slide Fire, which threatened homes in Oak Creek Canyon and Flagstaff, was finally contained after it burned at least 33 square miles. Protesters like to point out the hypocrisy of the city’s sustainability initiatives, which place restrictions on the way citizens can use water, with fines levied against those who don’t comply. But some snowboarders at the event jeered the protesters. “It’s just water!” they said. “What is the big deal?” “As long as the water is being used for fun, who cares?”
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Others, though, voiced their support. One woman holding a “Water is life” sign said, “People have thanked us for being here; many are concerned about this.” Native Americans protesting the event juxtaposed skiing on manmade snow with the reality of their having to haul water on the reservation. One Diné woman from Cameron, Arizona, a small town just north of Flagstaff on the Navajo Nation, said, “If my family misses a weekend to haul water, we have to go that week without.” She added that her drinking water is contaminated by uranium due to mining. As she held a sign containing statistics about water access, I saw her staring at the drainage gutters along the street, where the 60-degree sun was fast melting away Flagstaff’s drinking water. It must have seemed a startling contrast to life on the reservation. Flagstaff’s utilities director, Brad Hill, who was interviewed on National Public Radio about Dew Downtown, wasn’t upset by the protests, calling the 300,000 gallons used to make snow for the event “a drop in the bucket.” Yet 300,000 gallons of water could meet the needs of a typical family for seven years. Under its own water rates, Flagstaff would bill a private citizen $3,222 for consuming that much water. Those protesting the use of water for recreation — for either the Dew Downtown festival or the Snowbowl ski resort — think it’s past time for the city to develop an updated water policy standard, one that reflects the reality of this increasingly scarce yet universally necessary resource. Flagstaff citizen and Diné activist Klee Benally said, “What is the outcome of this event? It’s celebrating recreation. So essentially, we’re wasting water for fun, and to me that sends the wrong message.” Misconceptions about reclaimed wastewater in Arizona abound, and the courts have been dismissive of cultural concerns regarding its use on the San Francisco Peaks. On the day of Flagstaff’s Dew Downtown event, the unseasonably warm wind blew dust, browning the man-made snow even as tourists in T-shirts celebrated. The water might be poisoned to the north, a water crisis could shake up people to the West and statewide standards for drought might be declared, but in Flagstaff, I realized, we still waste our water for fun. Kyle Boggs is a contributor to Writers on the Range, a column service of High Country News . He regularly contributes to The Noise, an independently produced northern Arizona newspaper, and is a Ph.D. candidate in the University of Arizona’s rhetoric and composition program. http://www.hcn.org/wotr/my-town-wasted-scarce-water-for-a-celebration
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The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature William Cronon 1 The time has come to rethink wilderness. 2 This will seem a heretical claim to many environmentalists, since the idea of wilderness has for decades been a fundamental tenet—indeed, a passion—of the environmental movement, especially in the United States. For many Americans wilderness stands as the last remaining place where civilization, that all too human disease, has not fully infected the earth. It is an island in the polluted sea of urban-industrial modernity, the one place we can turn for escape from our own too-muchness. Seen in this way, wilderness presents itself as the best antidote to our human selves, a refuge we must somehow recover if we hope to save the planet. As Henry David Thoreau once famously declared, “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.” 1 3 But is it? The more one knows of its peculiar history, the more one realizes that wilderness is not quite what it seems. Far from being the one place on earth that stands apart from humanity, it is quite profoundly a human creation—indeed, the creation of very particular human cultures at very particular moments in human history. It is not a pristine sanctuary where the last remnant of an untouched, endangered, but still transcendent nature can for at least a little while longer be encountered without the contaminating taint of civilization. Instead, it’s a product of that civilization and could hardly be contaminated by the very stuff of which it is made. Wilderness hides its unnaturalness behind a mask that is all the more beguiling because it seems so natural. As we gaze into the mirror it holds up for us, we too easily imagine that what we behold is Nature when in fact we see the reflection of our own unexamined longings and desires. For this reason, we mistake ourselves when we suppose that wilderness can be the solution to our culture’s problematic relationships with the nonhuman world, for wilderness is itself no small part of the problem. 4 To assert the unnaturalness of so natural a place will no doubt seem absurd or even perverse to many readers, so let me hasten to add that the nonhuman world we encounter in wilderness is far from being merely our own invention. I celebrate with others who love wilderness the beauty and power of the things it contains. Each of us who has spent time there can conjure images and sensations that seem all the more hauntingly real for having engraved themselves so indelibly on our memories. Such memories may be uniquely our own, but they are also familiar enough be to be instantly recognizable to others. Remember this? The torrents of mist shoot out from the base of a great waterfall in the depths of a Sierra canyon, the tiny droplets cooling your face as you listen to the roar of the water and gaze up toward the sky through a rainbow that hovers just out of reach. Remember this too: looking out across a desert canyon in the evening air, the only sound a lone raven calling in the distance, the rock walls dropping away into a chasm so deep that its bottom all but vanishes as you squint into the amber light of the setting sun. And this: the moment beside the trail as you sit on a sandstone ledge, your boots damp with the morning dew while you take in the rich smell of the pines, and the small red fox—or maybe for you it was a raccoon or a coyote or a deer—that suddenly ambles across your path, stopping for a long moment to gaze in your direction with cautious indifference before continuing on its way. Remember the feelings of such moments, and you will know as well as I do that you were in the presence of something irreducibly nonhuman, something profoundly Other than yourself. Wilderness is made of that too. 5 And yet: what brought each of us to the places where such memories became possible is entirely a cultural invention. Go back 250 years in American and European history, and you do
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Cronon. “The Trouble with Wilderness.” 2 not find nearly so many people wandering around remote corners of the planet looking for what today we would call “the wilderness experience.” As late as the eighteenth century, the most common usage of the word “wilderness” in the English language referred to landscapes that generally carried adjectives far different from the ones they attract today. To be a wilderness then was to be “deserted,” “savage,” “desolate,” “barren”—in short, a “waste,” the word’s nearest synonym. Its connotations were anything but positive, and the emotion one was most likely to feel in its presence was “bewilderment” or terror. 2 6 Many of the word’s strongest associations then were biblical, for it is used over and over again in the King James Version to refer to places on the margins of civilization where it is all too easy to lose oneself in moral confusion and despair. The wilderness was where Moses had wandered with his people for forty years, and where they had nearly abandoned their God to worship a golden idol. 3 “For Pharaoh will say of the Children of Israel,” we read in Exodus, “They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in.” 4 The wilderness was where Christ had struggled with the devil and endured his temptations: “And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness. And he was there in the wilderness for forty days tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.” 5 The “delicious Paradise” of John Milton’s Eden was surrounded by “a steep wilderness, whose hairy sides /Access denied” to all who sought entry.” 6 When Adam and Eve were driven from that garden, the world they entered was a wilderness that only their labor and pain could redeem. Wilderness, in short, was a place to which one came only against one’s will, and always in fear and trembling. Whatever value it might have arose solely from the possibility that it might be “reclaimed” and turned toward human ends—planted as a garden, say, or a city upon a hill. 7 In its raw state, it had little or nothing to offer civilized men and women. 7 But by the end of the nineteenth century, all this had changed. The wastelands that had once seemed worthless had for some people come to seem almost beyond price. That Thoreau in 1862 could declare wildness to be the preservation of the world suggests the sea change that was going on. Wilderness had once been the antithesis of all that was orderly and good—it had been the darkness, one might say, on the far side of the garden wall—and yet now it was frequently likened to Eden itself. When John Muir arrived in the Sierra Nevada in 1869, he would declare, “No description of Heaven that I have ever heard or read of seems half so fine.” 8 He was hardly alone in expressing such emotions. One by one, various corners of the American map came to be designated as sites whose wild beauty was so spectacular that a growing number of citizens had to visit and see them for themselves. Niagara Falls was the first to undergo this transformation, but it was soon followed by the Catskills, the Adirondacks, Yosemite, Yellowstone, and others. Yosemite was deeded by the U. S. government to the state of California in 1864 as the nation’s first wildland park, and Yellowstone became the first true national park in 1872. 9 8 By the first decade of the twentieth century, in the single most famous episode in American conservation history, a national debate had exploded over whether the city of San Francisco should be permitted to augment its water supply by damming the Tuolumne River in Hetch Hetchy valley, well within the boundaries of Yosemite National Park. The dam was eventually built, but what today seems no less significant is that so many people fought to prevent its completion. Even as the fight was being lost, Hetch Hetchy became the baffle cry of an emerging movement to preserve wilderness. Fifty years earlier, such opposition would have been unthinkable. Few would have questioned the merits of “reclaiming” a wasteland like this in order to put it to human use. Now the defenders of Hetch Hetchy attracted widespread national attention by portraying such an act not as improvement or progress but as desecration
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