Earthwords: Writing About Landscape

Using the essay as form and the landscape as subject, this course will be an exercise in close reading and careful composition. We will try initially to establish a taxonomy of landscape writing, to mark the outlines of the genre and enable us to select specific types of writing on which to concentrate. Then we will look closely at criticism, both as a practice that operates across the genres of landscape writing and as a significant technique in teaching and professional life. Various modes of criticism–formalist, political, feminist, ecological–will be examined as they pertain to landscape. The course will then pursue two objectives simultaneously: analysis of significant texts, especially on exemplary works of landscape architecture; and composition of both short and long essays, perhaps including a critique of a built or proposed project; a book review; or a site history/project proposal such as students might be asked to prepare in studio or in practice. The course will meet in discussion sessions; students will also meet individually on a regular basis with the instructor to edit their writings. The goal of the course is to assist students in developing the interpretive and writing skills useful in professional life. Each student will be expected to submit a final paper of publishable quality. The course is intended as a complement to GSD 9206; the two courses will meet at the same time on alternating weeks. Students may take either course or both. Enrollment in 3321 is limited.This class will meet on the following Thursdays:9/19, 9/26, 10/3, 10/17, 10/31, 11/14, 11/28(this is Thanksgiving week, so class will be held on Tuesday, the 26th), 12/12