Back when we originally voted Wesleyan "Most Annoying Liberal Arts College," their Interim Dean of Students Mike Whaley told the Wesleyan Argus that "like most stereotypes, the entire 'article' seems to be based on ignorance and/or malice—the desire to foster misinformation and to detract from the incredible educational experience Wesleyan (and others) offers seems clear." That "incredible educational experience" includes a class called "Feet to the Fire." "Feet to the Fire is an intensive, interdisciplinary course that melds scientific and choreographic inquiry in pursuit of one of the most important topics facing society: climate change due to global warming," the course catalog description begins.
This course will include both classroom and laboratory sessions. Our laboratory will be Middletown's landfill. The landfill, less than 2 miles from campus, dominates the landscape and flood plain of the north end of Middletown. It is a perfect laboratory within which to explore the effects of climate change on both wilderness and urban landscapes using the lenses of science and choreography. For example, the contents of the landfill afford the opportunity to explore the climatic consequences of consumerism, energy use, CO2 and methane production. With an emphasis on the body and its relationship with its environment, participants will have an opportunity to consider the multiple layers of histories, time and memory layered within the landfill and the continuing impact of this changing environment on the body. Students will learn modern scientific and kinesthetic tools for assessing environmental conditions, ecological responses changing in time and space. The methods of scientific deduction and choreographic composition will be applied to metaphor and meaning of climate change. The experience is intended to reciprocally illuminate artistic and scientific practices in pursuit of common goals, renewed pathways of inquiry, perception and ideas. The course will meet for 2-3 hours once per week from the beginning of the semester until spring break and then will meet all day long each week day of spring break. After spring break we will meet as a class and then individually with teams of students in preparation for a symposium on our joint science and art projects.You know, it's not a "stereotype" based on "ignorance" if it's an "observation" based on "research," Mike. I learned that in my Ethics Of Journalism/ Contemporary Mud Sculpture class at Eugene Lang.