engaging with a place

Courses in the Finding Your Place program provide entering students with a profound and intimate knowledge of the University and the surrounding area by closely engaging with its biology and geology, and its community and history. With the guidance of professors and student mentors, first-year students will begin finding their place through field trips, readings, reflective writing, and small-group discussions.

Robert Bachman: Creating Place

This course considers both how natural chemical processes shape our surroundings and how place is created by the intentional manipulation of matter to create objects of everyday use. While developing an understanding of place-making broadly, the course focuses on both nature's creation of place and the role of art and cultural materials in defining place. Field trips and plenary lectures allow students to explore the local and regional context of place formation and synthesize knowledge across disciplines. Capstone projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration.

Eric Keen: The Ecology of Place

This course explores how the natural environment has influenced human interactions, past and present, and how these interactions have shaped ecosystems on the Cumberland Plateau as well as the economy, culture, and health of communities in this region. Field trips and plenary lectures allow students to explore the region, engage in the practice of place-making, and synthesize knowledge across disciplines. Readings present various lenses on the ecology of place.

Bran Potter: Walking in Place

Walking was the original means of exploring one’s place and finding one’s place in it. In this course, students use their own two feet to explore the ironic power of journey to build a sense of belonging and attachment to a place. Class readings, journal work, and discussions are based on the canon of literature on walking and wilderness, drawing upon authors such as John Muir, Wendell Berry, Edward Abbey, Colin Fletcher, and Mary Oliver. All meetings of this section require extensive walking off-trail and in all weather conditions, as well as regular solitary visits to an outdoor place of contemplation.

John Willis: A Landscape for Memory

This course pursues a deeper understanding of the ways human action and the natural environment have shaped and been shaped by one another. Students explore the area's background, current status, and ongoing possibilities, from the deep time of geology to the era of human history and prospects for future development. Field trips and plenary lectures allow students to explore the region, engage in the practice of place-making, and synthesize knowledge across disciplines. Capstone projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration.

Virginia Craighill: "Your Place or Mine?" The Tension of Place in Narrative and Story-telling

This course examines the many aspects of "place" revealed by the stories told about it. The readings illustrate disparate views of those born and those who choose to move into an environment. Students learn how stories shape and expose the culture of place through images of the land, language, and common legends and analyze the tensions evoked by different cultures living in close proximity. Field trips and plenary lectures allow students to explore the region, engage in the practice of place-making, and synthesize knowledge across disciplines. Journal response and revision lets students integrate their own narratives into the story of this place. Capstone projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration

Chris McDonough: Here and There, Now and Then

This course considers Sewanee in the twenty-first century in light of ancient texts about place and placelessness, especially Virgil's Aeneid. Field trips and plenary lectures allow students to explore the region, engage in the practice of place-making, and synthesize knowledge across disciplines. Capstone projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration.

Daniel Carter: Community Narratives of the South Cumberland Plateau

This course introduces students to people, places, and events that helped shape the history, culture, and environment of the South Cumberland Plateau. Students explore multiple cultural, historical, and political narratives that tell the story of the region. Particular emphasis is placed on the role of historical and current land-use in shaping local environmental attitudes and perceptions. Field trips and plenary lectures allow students to explore the region, engage in the practice of place-making, and synthesize knowledge across disciplines. Capstone projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration.

Jennifer Matthew: Memory, History, and Story—Site Specific Devised Performance

Students in this class explore the histories, stories, and sites of the South Cumberland Plateau, University Domain and surrounding areas in order to create devised, site-specific performances. Devised performance techniques in this course use collaboration-from performers, designers, and researchers to create the performance outline/script- and locations that are specific to the telling of the stories selected by the students. The course culminates with a performance of the material created by students.