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 environment, its community, and its 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.

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 as well as of symbolic, cultural, or artistic importance. 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, engage in the practice of place-making, and synthesize knowledge across disciplines. Capstone projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration. This course is not repeatable for credit. 

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. Capstone projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration. This course is not repeatable for credit.

Clothing, Textiles, and the Identity of Place

Clothing and textiles are not only a necessary part of everyday life but also physical artifacts that communicate meaning, belonging, and tradition within the cultures that create them. Sewanee and the surrounding area is uniquely suited to explore this aspect of material culture through clothing ranging from present-day vestments, robes, and class dress to the Klan robes, Confederate uniforms, and Cherokee "tear" dresses of the past. The course also examines current usage and manufacture of clothing in the local community as well as the impact of textile waste. 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. 

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. This course is not repeatable for credit. 

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. This course is not repeatable for credit. 

The Local Place and the Forces of Globalization

This course explores forces of globalization to understand the complexities of local place. It examines how this place is influenced by trade, migration, health issues, environmental pressures, human rights, and the global rise of populism. Field trips to international businesses, groups addressing global health, and human rights organizations will illustrate how the geographic and political borders of place are relatively porous and the identities of people within those places are shaped by local and global forces. Journals, student-led discussions, and a capstone project provide the opportunity to link readings on globalization and place to observations and investigations about the local community. 

Reimagination and regeneration of place

This course investigates the concept of a thriving living landscape - both natural and social - in which students will explore systems of agriculture, ecosystems, and human communities through a regenerative lens. Regeneration involves not simply looking forward, but an understanding of our past and its consequences, a process of renewal, restoration, and growth. Emphasis will be placed on our approaches and practices of agriculture, ecosystem and species management, and student/institutional social engagement. Field trips, plenary lectures, and service-based activities will engage students in an experiential understanding of the topics. Independent projects provide opportunities for in-depth exploration. This course is not repeatable for credit. 

Community-Based Philanthropy

Today “Big Philanthropy” has an outside influence on American life, on institutions, and on community growth and development. This course introduces students to an alternative— ”Community Philanthropy”—in which local people, supported by outside donors, identify and define the projects and organizations that build a resilient community. Students will explore multiple strands of American philanthropy, and they will gain first-hand knowledge of a rural mountain community, its challenges, and the ways in which it can move toward flourishing in a collaborative way. Students will participate in a grant program that contributes $30,000 to community non-profit organizations.