Neil S. Banas
Each colloquium examines a different subject or problem from a comparative framework. A list of topics is available from the CHID office.
Northwest Coastal Stories: Salmon, First Peoples, and the Science of Uncertainty
This course will follow Jonathan Raban's remarkable travelogue _Passage to Juneau_ on a tour through the human and natural history of the Pacific Northwest coastal waters. We'll discuss chaos theory and the circulation of Puget Sound; coastal ecology and climate change; the art and mythology of the Northwest tribes and the problems of ethnography; the Vancouver expedition and the Romantic Sublime. The unifying theme is the interplay between order and chaos, and how we cope (in science, in literary criticism, in political decision-making) with the limits of rationality and the limits of our knowledge. How do we, and how did the indigenous cultures on this coast, deal with natural unpredictability and all the dangers that result--from navigating a turbulent channel to managing a salmon fishery?
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
This course will be driven strongly by student discussion and writing.
Class assignments and grading