The Geography of Hope

Some of our most potent and enduring relationships are with places and regions. We visit them, learn to find our way through them, master their nuances, and eventually develop powerful relationships that nurture and shape us.  “Home” is a word that resonates emotionally and intellectually. Or in Wright Morris’s redolent phrase, “The Home Place.” Or as Eudora Welty once wrote, “a place that has been lived in is like a fire that never goes out.” Or as Wallace Stegner had it in his “Coda: A Wilderness Letter: “a geography of hope.” Personal and historical memory shape our seeing, our knowing, our understanding. We become scholars of these favorite places –documenting them objectively as field scientists, seeking to convey their emotional and aesthetic essence through descriptive narratives or fictional accounts. Our course will examine several North American locations to see what others have learned and expressed about their regions and, ultimately, about themselves.