Jim Tantillo
Office : 8A Fernow Hall
  Cornell University
  Ithaca NY 14850
Tel : (607)-255 0704
email : jat4@cornell.edu

Announcements for Nature and Culture

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The course formerly known as NTRES 212 and also formerly known as NTRES 220:

1/21/08 Welcome once again to NTRES 232, "Nature and Culture"!

Same high quality material as before, only better! New and improved! Today's study tip: Don't be a Sponge Bob!

This course web page is no longer being regularly updated. Please see the class blog at http://natres232.blogspot.com for current information and discussion.


1/22/07 Welcome to an all new course title and number!

Same high quality material as before, only better! New and improved! Today's study tip: Don't be a Sponge Bob!!


5/8/06 Study and review sessions:

A general review session will be held Wednesday May 10, 2006 at 10:00 am in Fernow 304.

A study session will be held Monday May 15 from 5:00-8:00 pm in Fernow 304.

A study session will be held Tuesday May 16 at 2:00 pm in Fernow 212.


4/17/06 Term paper guidelines are now online.


4/10/06 Just a reminder that there is an additional assigned reading for Week Eleven:

Worster, Donald. "Clements and the Climax Community," chapter 11 in Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas, pp. 205-220 plus notes.

This reading is on electronic reserve. In addition, we strongly suggest you take a look at the following suggested reading, also on electronic reserve:

Tobey, Ronald C., "Frederic Clements's Theory of Plant Succession," chapter 4 in Saving the Prairies: The Life Cycle of the Founding School of American Plant Ecology, 1895-1955, pp. 76-109 plus notes.


3/27/06 Writing assignment #3, due in class Wednesday 3/29:

Read Lawrence Sargent Hall's short story, "The Ledge," and on the index card provided in class please write a brief response describing your reactions to the story. In particular please describe your emotional response to the story, as well as any reflections upon those emotions that you may wish to add.


3/10/06 Just a reminder that there will be two review sessions for the mid-term exam. Jocelyn will run a session on Sunday afternoon March 12 in Fernow 304 at 4:00 pm. Then on Monday March 13 we will hold a review in Fernow 304 at 2:00 pm.

2/16/06 Our web page update capability is back up and running! Please bear with us as we update our pages over the next few days. First priority is this semester's current syllabus.


5/6/05 For your studying convenience, lecture outline links now organized by date and title, click here.


Review session will be held in Fernow Hall room 304.
Monday 5/9 at 10:00am



5/2/05 FERAL CAT PREDATION ON "CHARISMATIC MINIFAUNA" IN POPULAR CULTURE! Read Matthew Hunter's history of Sylvester and Tweety Bird in Warner Bros. cartoons.
For a more serious look at cat impacts on wildlife, see lecture outline for today.


4/27/05 How does the duck-rabbit picture relate to Aldo Leopold's ethical summum bonum, "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise"? See today's lecture outline for details.


4/18/05 Who was Robert J. Flaherty and why is he significant? See lecture outline for today.


4/15/05 "I laughed, I cried . . . it was better than Cats!"
For filmgoers who just can't get enough of Professor Welton's Boxing Cats, here it is!! . . . fast becoming a real Nat. Res. 220 tradition.
But what does all this have to do with Natural Resources? See lecture outline for today.


4/13/05 "OH, THOSE CRAZY FUN LOVING BOTANISTS!!" What did University of Chicago plant ecologist Henry C. Cowles do on his summer vacation in 1913? To learn more about America's pioneering plant ecologists, see lecture outline for today.


4/8/05 "It's never too early to start thinking about your term paper topic!"
If you still haven't settled on a topic, read Adam Rome's bibliographic essay, "Conservation, Preservation, and Environmental Activism:
A Survey of the Historical Literature,
" for some possible ideas.


On the Sublime and the Tragic: Who was Annie Edson Taylor? (a) an actress in a Greek tragedy; (b) Marilyn Monroe's co-star in Niagara; (c) Annie Oakley's stunt double; or (d) the first human to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
See lecture notes for today for the answer.


3/30/05 Repeat showing of Dead River Rough Cut. Friday, April 1, at 2:30 pm in Bradfield 101. Come see the "Director's Cut" of this Maine Woods back-to-the-land classic!


3/28/05 WRITING ASSIGNMENT 3: due Wednesday March 30. See assignments page.


3/11/05 What famous conservationist wrote, "But coal is in a sense the vital essence of our civilization"?
See for yourself in the online text of The Fight for Conservation, available through the The Core Historical Literature of Agriculture (CHLA) collection at Mann Library.


3/9/05 Midterm exam (take home component) is now available on the assignments page.


A review session will be held in Fernow Hall room 304:
Thursday 3/10 at 2:00pm


3/7/05 See the SANBORN FIRE INSURANCE MAPS for Cornell University for 1919, 1929, and 1961. Was Fernow Hall ever a good fire insurance risk?


3/4/05 KNOW YOUR COWBOY HISTORY! Check out the Cornell Library "Making of America" digital collections of 19th century printed materials, and see some of the primary sources from which Cronon draws his illustrations and other information for Nature's Metropolis, e.g., "Cattle Arriving at a Kansas Stockyard" (following p. 328).
You can read the entire article here.


3/2/05 TAKE OUR FUN NEW POP QUIZ: True or False?
Chicago is also known as : a) "Nature's Metropolis"; b) "The White City"; c) home of the world famous Cubbies; or d) the inspiration for some really bad 70s music?


2/25/05 SECOND WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Due Monday February 28. See assignments page.


2/25/05 See our comments on the first writing assignment: Précis of William Cronon's "The Trouble with Wilderness: or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature."


View the original 1971 "Crying Indian" Public Service Announcement at the Keep America Beautiful web site.


2/21/05 TAKE OUR FUN NEW POP QUIZ: Which of the following are "Claudian" artistic conventions in landscape painting: a) tall trees on one side of the picture; b) a winding river that directs the eye through the landscape to the horizon; c) distant hills; or d) all of the above? For the answer, see lecture outline for today!


2/18/05 What does the Borghese Gladiator have to do with the Hudson River School of American landscape painting? See lecture for today.


2/16/05 FIRST WRITING ASSIGNMENT: Due Monday February 21. See assignments page.


2/14/05 Matt Cartmill says Albrecht Dürer’s 1504 drawing Head of a Stag "testifies to the appearance of a new set of attitudes" toward nature. See why in the lecture outline for today.


2/11/05 Why is Pieter Bruegel's Hunters in the Snow such an important painting? See lecture outline for today.


2/7/05 Water Pollution Problems of the Ancient Greeks and Romans: Saint Sebastian thrown into the Cloaca Maxima.



Headline story in the Boston Post on August 10, 1913. See lecture outline for today.

Also check out our new Joseph Knowles Picture Gallery.

January 31, 2005

NEWSFLASH: Nostalgic Plato Laments Deforestation at Attica

Plato writes in the Critias:

“The land was the best in the world, and was therefore able in those days to support a vast army, raised from the surrounding people. Even the remnant of Attica which now exists may compare with any region in the world for the variety and excellence of its fruits and the suitableness of its pastures to every sort of animal, which proves what I am saying; but in those days the country was fair as now and yielded far more abundant produce. How shall I establish my words? and what part of it can be truly called a remnant of the land that then was? The whole country is only a long promontory extending far into the sea away from the rest of the continent, while the surrounding basin of the sea is everywhere deep in the neighbourhood of the shore. Many great deluges have taken place during the nine thousand years, for that is the number of years which have elapsed since the time of which I am speaking; and during all this time and through so many changes, there has never been any considerable accumulation of the soil coming down from the mountains, as in other places, but the earth has fallen away all round and sunk out of sight. The consequence is, that in comparison of what then was, there are remaining only the bones of the wasted body, as they may be called, as in the case of small islands, all the richer and softer parts of the soil having fallen away, and the mere skeleton of the land being left. But in the primitive state of the country, its mountains were high hills covered with soil, and the plains, as they are termed by us, of Phelleus were full of rich earth, and there was abundance of wood in the mountains. Of this last the traces still remain, for although some of the mountains now only afford sustenance to bees, not so very long ago there were still to be seen roofs of timber cut from trees growing there, which were of a size sufficient to cover the largest houses; and there were many other high trees, cultivated by man and bearing abundance of food for cattle. Moreover, the land reaped the benefit of the annual rainfall, not as now losing the water which flows off the bare earth into the sea, but, having an abundant supply in all places, and receiving it into herself and treasuring it up in the close clay soil, it let off into the hollows the streams which it absorbed from the heights, providing everywhere abundant fountains and rivers, of which there may still be observed sacred memorials in places where fountains once existed; and this proves the truth of what I am saying.”

By Plato
Written 360 B.C.E
Translated by Benjamin Jowett
Text from Jowett at http://classics.mit.edu/Plato/critias.html

See J. Donald Hughes, Pan's Travail, p. 73.


January 23, 2005

The web site is currently being updated for 2005. The link for the syllabus will be active shortly. thanks for your patience.