About the course

Animals and Nature in Popular American Literature, or GRIZZ, as you will find it short-listed on Moodle, is a course concerned with two related, but decidedly different questions. The first: What is the human role in nature? Setting aside the (valid) concern for what human obligations are to the natural world for another course of study, we will explore the more fundamental question of just where we fit into the puzzle of nature and whether our relationship to the world is different than that of our ancestors.

The second question, as some of you might have guessed: What is nature’s role in human life? Again, there is an obvious – though by no means incorrect – answer. Nature provides for us. Food, raw materials, elements that allow for combustion and electricity and nuclear power. It’s all out there. But again, let’s set aside the simple answer. We know we need nature, in some way, to live. But how can we characterize the role that nature plays in our lives? Is it a menace? A friend? A pesky older sister who alternates between obnoxiously chiding you and going out of her way to drive you to the movies when your car’s broken down? Who is nature – and where can we find him?

This blog will serve as a series of potential answers to these questions, as well as a repository of images and information related to nature, animals, and human life.


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