Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues

A photograph of a rock formation known as "Three Brothers" at Yosemite National Park. The rock formation is surrounded by trees and reflected in a body of water in the foreground.

The Three Brothers rock formation is a popular tourist attraction at Yosemite National Park. This course focuses on writings about American landscapes and students will examine the symbolism and environmental issues surrounding these landscapes. (Image courtesy of Mitchell Cipriano on flickr. License CC BY-NC-SA.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2017



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

In this course we will read and write about works that explore symbolic encounters in the American landscape. Some of the assigned works look at uneasy encounters between ordinary individuals and animals—wolves, eagles, sandhill cranes—that Americans have invested with symbolic significance; others explore conflicts between the pragmatic American impulse to impose order on unruly nature and the equally American inclination to enshrine the unaltered landscape.

Related Content

Cynthia Taft. 21W.775 Writing about Nature and Environmental Issues. Spring 2017. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

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