Five College Consortium

Writing About the Outdoors

Subject Name: 

Critical Social Inquiry

Course Number: 
Hampshire College
This seminar will explore approaches to writing about people in the outdoors -- working, playing, transforming nature, or simply contemplating the world. We will read and critique a number of genres including traditional nature writing, historical accounts, creative nonfiction, fiction, and academic analyses. We will pay particular attention to narrative choices and the role of the narrator as well as to the use of landscape description, scientific language, and other vehicles for constructing ideas of nature. Our analytical focus will be on the historical and cultural origins of both mainstream and critical views of the human presence in the natural world. We will use these readings both as models of good writing and as contributions to the rich discourse about people in the outdoors. These readings will also help us develop some criteria for peer review of written work. There will be regular writing assignments, including portraits, analysis of primary historical materials, literary journalism, advocacy, and creative expression. Students will be expected to contribute to class discussion and group critique in an informed and constructive manner. This course is best suited to Division II students in environmental studies and creative nonfiction writing.

Independent Work Writing and Research

Linked Course: 
Multiple required components--lab and/or discussion section. To register, submit requests for all components simultaneously.
Linked Course Comments: 

This course has unspecified prerequisite(s) - please see the instructor.

Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during all registration periods.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Writing About the Outdoors
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
1 4.0

Robert Rakoff;William Ryan;

12:30PM-01:50PM T,TH

Adele Simmons Hall 222