ARTH 201
American Landscape History Fall 2009
Division I Writing Skills
Cross-listed ENVI 201
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Class Details

A survey course stressing the visual attributes and historical geography of regional, vernacular (that is, ordinary or pervasive) American settings, with the goal of discerning a national style of spatial or landscape organization. Among the human-altered environments to be studied, from an evolutionary or diachronic perspective, are: forestlands, rangelands, croplands, outdoor recreational sites, mines and quarries; power and utilities; small towns, mill towns, central business districts, and suburbs; housing, industry, commerce, and institutional uses such as the American college campus; water, road, and rail corridors as examples of circulation nets. Given the course’s breadth of topics and, by contrast, other courses (see ArtH 311 and 318 during this academic year) concentrating on specific land uses, a major objective in this survey will lie in discerning generic stylistic continuities and discontinuities, or changes, which the landscape activities or sites express. One outdoor, afternoon meeting each week provides discussion opportunities in situ, and enables class members to obtain a deeper or first-hand familiarity with a rural-urban gradient of representative land uses and occupants of the Hoosic-Hudson watershed and Taconic upland region surrounding Williamstown, as well as practicums in interviewing and field study methodologies.
The Class: Format: lecture/discussion
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1534
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: weekly essays advancing the documentation of an individually-chosen landscape site or behavior, simultaneously with the wider textual and field context which the course itself provides
Extra Info: the first Friday in November there will be an obligatory all-day field session, pondering an urban-rural gradient from Troy, New York to Salem, New York
Prerequisites: none; open to first-year students
Enrollment Preferences: American Studies, Art, and Environmental Studies majors or intended majors
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ARTH 201 Division I ENVI 201 Division I
Attributes: AMST Arts in Context Electives
AMST Space and Place Electives
ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives
EXPE Experiential Education Courses
SCST Related Courses

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