FYSE 1528

Invention of Nature

Invention of Nature: Global and Local
In this class we take a deep dive into the nineteenth century archive where students will discover how Middlebury’s first professor, Frederick T. Hall, institutionalized the scientific study of nature here at a time when most colleges emphasized seminary studies. We will compare the careers of two of his students: Henry Rowe Schoolcraft and Edwin James, both of whom became explorers of the western territories and experts in Native American languages. We will look at their expeditionary writings and examine how these were taken up and used by a diverse audience that included scientists, industrialists, legislators, poets, clergy, and adventure-seekers. We will explore how these writings and their subsequent use help to invent a natural history for the new nation. We will also examine the ambivalent implication of James and Schoolcraft’s writings for the status of the Native Americans with whom they worked. 3 hrs. sem.
First Year Seminar
First-Year Seminar Program
Requirements Fulfilled:

Sections in Fall 2018

Fall 2018

FYSE1528A-F18 Seminar (Nevins)