Landscape Studies: The Hudson River Valley
Course Number: HUM 234
Professor: Jana Mader
Cross-listed: Architecture; Environmental and Urban Studies; Environmental Studies; Experimental Humanities; Literature
For centuries, the land on which the Bard Arboretum now sits has been inhabited and used by diverse societies and cultures. In this course, students learn to critically engage with the existing landscape and vegetation to unfold “the story” of the land now owned by Bard College. By confronting the narratives that shaped these lands from an interdisciplinary perspective, students can build skills to become informed and impactful agents of change. Particular areas of inquiry include the Hudson River Valley in art, literature, music, and film; the history of Native Americans, colonialism, and slavery in the region; horticulture, bio-diversity, and native plants of the Hudson River Valley (living collection). We will explore the past, present, and possible future of the Hudson River Valley through a series of primary and secondary sources including fiction and nonfiction works of literature, visual art, film, etc. Meetings will be held in the classroom, and outdoors at the Bard Arboretum, Montgomery Place, and Blithewood; we will observe and study the actual river, our native plants, and learn more about how our current home and what we see in it have changed over time. This is an Engaged Liberal Arts & Sciences (ELAS) course.