Turtle Island/New World
This colloquy will investigate the northeastern landscape and the various relationships human beings have had with it over time. It will also look at relationships between peoples on that land, especially in the last 500 years.
The colloquy begins with a few premises. First, there has never been a time since the retreat of the glacier 12,000-15,000 years ago, where the northeast has not had human inhabitants. The woods here grew in a relationship with people, so there never was a “forest primeval” into which people moved. Related to this, humans have always had their hands on this land, and the forest that grew here was the outcome of this “conversation,” as were the original peoples. Finally, humans never do anything with their hands without having an idea in their heads, and they rarely have an idea which drives their hands which they don’t try to communicate to others. We tell stories in other words, about the land, and about our relationship with it, and over time this process creates the narrative ecosystems which we inhabit, just like we inhabit the land.
A story is like a tree, and these narrative ecosystems are like a forest. They are where we live and where we encounter one another. Through this lens, we will look at the shape of the forested ecosystem through time. We will use this investigation to think and speak creatively about our current and future relationship with this forested landscape as well.
To facilitate this conversation, we will read Walking Toward Moosalamoo: A Natural History of Terra Nullius, by Hans Carlson – a portion of the book for each of the four weeks. Participants will also be provided with a short, annotated bibliography of optional additional reading on various topics covered in the book. Readings will be the foundation of our conversation, but the goal will be to think beyond the texts in our conversations as well.
Sign me up!