Suggested courses for English majors and other Humanities students:
Reading and Writing the Marine Environment (5 credits: ENGL 365 - VLPA, Optional W)
Faculty: UW Professor Richard Kenney; Sierra Nelson, MFA
Inspired by writers, artists, scientists and naturalists who have taken the sea for their subject, this is a marine-minded literature and writing course intended for readers and writers from all disciplinary backgrounds, engaging both creative and critical processes.
Q: What book is an unparalleled extravagance of literary ambition and style, a firsthand observatory of sea and life at sea, a serious natural history of cetacean mammals, an apparently bottomless mirror for American philosophical self-reflection, at once a mythic quest and a white-knuckle adventure story?
A: Moby Dick, our principal quarry. Chasing the White Whale, we’ll net other specimens from the literatures of the sea, contemporary and ancient, verse and prose. In all cases, this will be reading from a writerly perspective, considering the technical aspects of literary art, asking in a practical way how this work is done.
Q: Or, in a broader sense, how does a mind move from sea to seascape—from Nature to its representation—in any medium? Consider “the marine environment” in paint, verse, field note, and mathematics: do representations in each of these modes have anything in common? What are their various intents and purposes? How does nerve by language nudge the world and come away with an impression?
A: That’s the class. Our conversation will draw courage from large questions like these and others we may wish to bring to the table. Meanwhile, our principal considerations will be practical: reading for joy, conversing together, and testing our thoughts in an experimental spirit at the point of a pencil.
All welcome: no previous experience in creative writing or literary study is presumed. UW students earn “VLPA” credits in this course. Optional"W" Writing credit is available for ENGL 365 by request. Interested students should speak with the instructor on the first class day of the program.
(Note: this course fulfills requirements for the English major and the English minor; see an adviser for more information.)
Creative Writing Lab/Workshop (1 - 5 credits: English 493)
Faculty: UW Professor Richard Kenney; Sierra Nelson, MFA
Integrated with the literature class, this hands-on course further engages students through a series of generative creative writing experiments inspired by science and literature of the sea, as well as a dynamic roster of Visiting Artists and Scholars whose readings, lectures and prompts will focus our binoculars and microscopes more carefully on the language and skills of craft. Culminating in a portfolio of new creative writing and providing a more critical pressure toward revision than the parent class may permit, this course ignites new approaches to the creative process and develops conversational critical faculties in a communal setting. Previous creative writing experience is not required; curiosity and engagement is a requisite. (Note: this course fulfills requirements for the English major and the English minor; see an adviser for more information.)
photograph courtesy Kati Casto, past program participant
Marine Biology (5 credits: BIOL 250/OCEAN 250/FISH 250 - NW)
Faculty: Dr. Petra Ditsche
This 5-credit lecture/laboratory course focuses on the incredible diversity of organisms inhabiting the marine environment. During the quarter we will take a broad tour through the plants and animals of the marine realm (plankton, seaweeds, invertebrates, fish, birds, and mammals), exploring how these organisms have adapted to life under water. Numerous field and laboratory exercises will expose students to common marine biological techniques and to the diverse marine communities common to Washington’s San Juan Islands. (Note: this course fulfills a core requirement of the Marine Biology minor for University of Washington students.) Recommendation: at least one quarter of introductory biology (more is preferable). Enrollment limited to 30 students. For additional information contact: Dr. Petra Ditsche.
Biology of Fishes (5 credits: FHL 305 - NW, "W" Writing credits)
Faculty: Dr. Adam Summers
FHL 305 is an introductory course designed to provide an overview of the wonderful world of fishes, their kinds and ways. We’ll discuss and conduct a hands-on examination of the biology and diversity of living fishes of the world—from ancient bottom-living hagfishes and lampreys to modern-day sharks, rays, and bony fishes; from the freshwaters of Amazonia and to mangrove swamps and coral reefs; and from shallow-water lakes and streams to the deepest parts of the world's oceans. For additional information contact: Dr. Adam Summers
Other Science Course Options (prerequisites apply):
Integrative Oceans (4 credits: OCEAN 210 - NW)
Faculty: Dr Louise McGarry
We will learn about the processes that control the large scale surface and deep water circulation of the ocean. We will look at the distribution of temperature, salinity, and chemical tracers to detect the circulation pathway of currents in the deep sea. In the surface ocean, we will learn how the ocean responds to forcing from surface winds and how this response controls the pattern and speed of surface currents. Topics include temperature-salinity analysis; Coriolis force, geostrophic equilibrium, upwelling, water mass identification; water, salt, and heat budgets; advection and diffusion. Prerequisite: either Ocean 101, Ocean 200, or OCEAN 250/BIOL 250/FISH 250; recommended: either PHYS 114 or PHYS 121. The course is both quantitative and descriptive. Thus familiarity with basic concepts (e.g., units, forces, vectors,) covered in an introductory Physics class will help. Although the exams and problem sets are quantitative, the mathematical skill level is fairly basic. Basic familiarity with Excel, or a similar spreadsheet program, will be needed for some problem sets. Enrollment limited to 20 students. For additional information contact: Dr. Louise McGarry.
Research in Marine Biology (FHL 470, 6 credits, NW, "W" Writing credit)
Faculty: Dr Megan Dethier
This course provides students with a hands-on introduction of “doing science.” The bulk of the course will be spent engaged in research activities in close collaboration with a supervisor. Students’ projects will focus on selected questions of marine biology; research topics vary, but will involve lab experiments and/or field work in the local marine habitats of the San Juan Archipelago. We will also engage in lectures and class activities to gain skills in gathering, analyzing, and presenting data. Enrollment limited to 20 students. (Mary Gates funding may be available for UW-matriculated undergraduates. See the FHL website for details.) For additional information, contact Dr Megan Dethier.
"I am sure the feeling I had on returning from Friday Harbor is not an uncommon one. Really, it’s a two-step process.... The first step is longing: If I could live in a hut on an island and do nothing but write and talk about poems for the rest of my life, I would. The second is a romantic leap (lapse) of judgment: Well, why can’t I?” -- Emily Dhatt, past participant