Start › Forums › Current Debates and Themes in Global Environmental History 2015 › Tue 17 Nov: Nature, Narrative and Environmental History
|December 1, 2015 at 21:11 #17598|
Post your reflections about the discussion seminar on the work of William Cronon here by Thursday 3.12.
Also post a comment on the reflection that is below yours in the thread by 6.12.
|December 1, 2015 at 23:38 #17600|
In our discussion we foremost discussed the interview with William Cronon. We talked about boreness and that Cronon suggested that we learn why we are bored and try to change it. In some ways we agreed on this. There are two sides to it. First of all, curiosity is important in what you do, and there will be boring things along the way anyways which need to be overcome. Yet, if one is thoroughly bored (which I believe is hard to find), things will not get done, neither if one is thoroughly curious, since there will be no peace to settle down on one thing. So there needs to be a mixture.
I brought up one aspect of boredom which somewhat contradicts Cronon, and that is that boredom can be considered a skill. I do not mean always, toward most things, but truly it is a valuable skill nonetheless. It is through boredom that I am taught not to do certain things, while I gain more energy to pursue the passions of my heart. This is one important aspect, it is not good for us to be too divided, but instead single-minded on the work we have before us. However, as we discussed, there will always be obstacles of boredom on the way of getting to our goals and this is where boredom is to be overcome as mentioned earlier. But over all, I believe in today´s society when we are expected to be updated all the time, to follow along in everything, to get bored with things like Facebook can be beneficial for thus can we use our time on more important things. To shut things out can be a skill that we do not want to live without.
We also discussed knowledge and how it can make us boastful. One suggested that if we keep our curiosity we will be humble enough and not try to disprove others with our knowledge. I´m not sure if I fully agree. For one can be curious and yet have selfish motives that make them proud and wanting to disprove other with their knowledge. What is in the heart, that is the issue. What focus we have and what we use our curiosity for. The old saying, ”knowledge puffs up, but love builds up”, I believe is relevant here. Knowlegde isolated can always lead to boastfulness, while having the focus of loving ourselves and others will always keep the knowledge where it should be, keeping love as our main focus. For I believe only love can break down pride, and not merely curiosity.
|December 2, 2015 at 18:47 #17601|
|December 2, 2015 at 18:48 #17602|
|December 3, 2015 at 11:56 #17603|
Fanny, I cannot access your reflection. Could you please post it in a different way?
|December 6, 2015 at 18:32 #17610|
Reflection to Fanny:
You wrote in your reflection of the seminar concerning us surrounded by short information everywhere we go and how this can make us disoriented of our place in the world:
The more complex and connected the society gets, the more do one person need (and want) to keep along with the surrounding society. This takes time and effort. The more things you need to bear in mind, the less can you go on the depth. But the loss in depth also makes people lose interest. We became more hungry on fast and quick info, just because we need to stay connected with a complicate society, however this do also detache us at the same time which makes us bored and uninterested in complex issues.
I understand this dilemma. I believe there is an answer to this. As the society gets more complex, there will be no chance we could keep up with it, as you said, we have limited access to time and effort. Maybe finding our place in the world is instead about becoming more simple and thus more selective in what information we choose to attend to. As you mentioned, much of the info is unneccessary. If we were more selective could we also go in depth on the things which really matter to us and also hopefully there would we find our place in the world. This could mean to choose ”fika” with some class mates, rather than watching more TV. Choosing to look at Facebook only once per day is another example. But each need to find their things to cut out.
You also posed the question: Is an article like a scientific blog post? I would say so. However probably to more value than a regular blog, or that is,depending on what it contains. The difference is that scientific articles tend to later end up in a book summarizing for example what´s new in the academic field concerning a newly discovered bodily enzyme. I have a bachelor i Biomedicine, and there I bought books on for example, the anatomy of the human body. It was a thick book, all based on articles and research. I must add here that there is a good thing I believe to often wanting quick information. For example, if one research, one will always get quick overviews of a book, or abstract of an article, in order to select whether the information is interesting and needed or not. Thus again, is selection something of great value.
|December 8, 2015 at 09:41 #17611|
William Cronon seminar
|January 5, 2016 at 01:16 #17622|
My complementary assignment:
17th of November
This is my complementary assignment for the 17th of November, which I could unfortunately not attend due to my exchange. I say unfortunately, because it looks like a very interesting discussion that bring back a few points we have already discussed before. I will respond to the interview with Cronon and to my classmates reflections, since they raise a lot of points that immediately captured my attention too. These include the use of the narrative and the discussion of humans being part of nature instead of being above nature.
What I first want to consider before I start is that both Cronon and also Worster are both American environmental historians, which I believe is slightly different than the environmental history we practice, which is very interesting, since it gives us a different perspective to. When I followed an environmental history course In Los Angeles and also during our conversation with Worster, it seemed like US Environmental History includes more science and biology and less humanities aspects. However, it seems to me that William Cronon is actually very much thinking about environmental history as a way of thinking differently and includes more humanities aspects, which is why I believe it would have been very interesting to have met him. In the interview he mentions this multiple times, how writings can be an addition to simply looking at geology etcetera.
I found it interesting to come back to the issue of narrative in history, since that is also how some of us started this degree. In the introduction week we discussed multiple times how history is not made up of facts or an objective truth, but how many aspects can influence how we see history, aka how a story is created. This can simply be as easy as when to start or stop a story, which facts to include and which sides you look at. I believe it is important to keep repeating this and I appreciate academics focusing on this, especially since they are often taken very serious. I believe that sometimes people, especially from a science background, can have difficulties accepting history as a field, since it cannot be measured and there is often no objective answer. The importance of well known individuals in the academic community therefore addressing this is very important in my opinion.
In my classmates comments I came across the discussion of intellectual or academic knowledge versus daily or more practical knowledge. I obviously was not there for the discussion, but it seems like a very interesting point. Academic knowledge obviously has its value and should not be considered less. However, especially in environmental issues, including environmental history, there are a lot of things we can learn from people interacting daily with the environment and from people who have historically been able to have personal interaction with issues we can only study second hand.
|January 5, 2016 at 14:58 #17627|
The next reflection answers to the question: How the modern environmentalism understands the concept of “wilderness”, according to W. Cronon? Here, by drawing the main ideas wrote by the author I will do a critic about his propose about rethink the modern concept of “wilderness”. The main omission of that proposal is the perverse effects that massive industrialization has on the conservation big ecosystems of the world such as the Amazonas.
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