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Alaska's Lessons for an Ecozoic Era: Wrangell-St. Elias Preserve

  • Wrangell-St. Elias National Park (map)

JULY 21 - AUGUST 1, 2017

6 Credit Hours: PHIL 200 "Wilderness and Environmental Philosophy", PHIL 200 CORE CREDIT, Gen Humanities/free elective; ENGL 205 "Wilderness, Imagination, Place", CORE CREDIT, Gen Humanities/free elective.

Program Costs: ~$2,690 inclusive travel/lodging + ~$470/ credit hour tuition. (2017 costs are approximate, based on 2016 rates and estimated increases, and subject to change).

Security Deposit: To secure spot, a $800 nonrefundable deposit is due by Mar 1, 2017. This deposit is included in the travel/lodging costs and will be deducted from the total travel/lodging cost once it is made.

Overview: With Dr. Leon Chartrand as our wilderness guide, this expedition takes us to Wrangell-St. Elias National Preserve. We explore the landscape's story firsthand by air shuttle into a remote area of Alaska for a complete immersion experience. Our goal is to discover how the human story is integrated within the Earth and Universe stories and, in so doing, emphasize the primary community that brought us into being and, even now, nurtures us in every aspect of human quality of life. We discover that what we do to the other-than-human, we do to the human; what happens to the outer world, happens to the inner world. This twelve day expedition takes us to one of the most remote places on Earth. We explore wildness firsthand by spending days discovering and reflecting upon how Earth influences our intellectual perceptions, moral imagination, and our sense of the divine. On this trip, students can take advantage of a six credits. We drink from ice cold streams and watch inland grizzlies forage without ever leaving our base-camp. And each day will involve a hike from basecamp into some new place to discover. A 3 credit graduate-level option is also available.

Enrollment: Maximum 18 | Adventure Level: 3

Where do we go? Region D: Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, Denali National Park, Anchorage, Fairbanks and surrounding Alaskan wilderness. To learn more about these places, click here

What will we do? Air shuttle into remote area for 6 days at base-camp, backcountry hiking; bear watching, campfire storytelling and stargazing; daily wilderness explorations from basecamp. To learn more, click here.

What courses are offered?

1. Wilderness and Environmental Philosophy. Professor: Dr. Tim Furlan [PHIL 200: 3 credits undergrad, PHIL 200 CORE credit, general humanities/free elective] The Wilderness theme and the science of Ecology are vital to Environmental Philosophy. According to Frederick Jackson Turner, "What the Mediterranean Sea was to the Greeks, breaking the bonds of custom, offering new experiences, calling out new institutions and activities, the ever retreating Great West has been to the United States directly." For "Classical American Philosophy," land, freedom, and democracy are intertwined. So long as there is land, the conditions exist for possibility and novelty. Students will be introduced to major figures and themes in Environmental Philosophy (i.e, New England Transcendentalism, Biocentrism, Ecocentrism, Social Ecology, Eco-feminism, Pragmatic Pluralism, Cosmogenesis, etc) within the context of wilderness experiences, particularly in Yellowstone National Park and the Teton, Gros Ventre and Washakie Wilderness Areas. The importance of wilderness in the shaping of ideas and the need for its preservation will be emphasized throughout."

2. Place, Identity and Imagination. Professor: David Reid
[ENGL 205: 3 credits undergrad, CORE ENGL 205 credit, General Humanities/Free elective] The Wilderness has long inspired the imagination of thinkers. In this course, we will consider the possibilities that writers of place provide as they attempt to reimagine the human role in the ecological narrative. We’ll ask the following questions, and more: What role does the literary imagination play in how we view both place and self? How do the stories we tell affect the actions we take? Do our dominant narratives encourage or discourage a sense of alienation or interdependence? Do we still have a sense of place? How does displacement, either figurative or literal, affect our identity? To reorient our own relationship to the environment, we will do some of our own writing. Immersion within the Yellowstone landscape will heighten our sense of connectedness and may inspire us in unexpected ways. Since writing involves the senses as well as language, this opportunity is ideal for taking time to write and practice engaging more deeply with our surroundings.


How do I prepare? | What do I bring?