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LIT 6394: Literature of Place: Florida


Class 11: Water and Plants
Field Trip: Hillsborough River State Park


Reading Assignment:

    Glorida Johoda, The River of the Golden Ibis, preface, parts 1 and 2, through pp.91 (in course docs)
    Wild Heart of Florida, finish, with particular attention to essays by Klinkenberg, Ripple, Hutto

    Post #10

Class Objectives:

    Class will meet at Hillsborough River State Park


Field Trip Directions: For those of you driving on your own, Hillsborough River State Park is accessed off of Highway 301: directions .

All others, please meet at the English department office in Cooper at 2:30. We will drive from USF (it takes about 15 to 20 minutes to get there.) We will gather just inside the entry station. There is a pull off. If you get there ahead of me, tell them you are with the USF class. You should not have to pay a fee.

Once we all gather, we will drive to the central pavillion area (Parking lot 3).

To prepare for this field trip, please wear appropriate outdoor gear. Bring binoculars if you can. Also be prepared with water. If you have any field guides, you will be able to use them.

We will do a hike, perhaps have a talk with a ranger, and then we will have time for a contemplative exercise. I plan to do something like the urban observation, except this will be in the "wild." Please bring your notebooks and either something to draw with or something to write with.

Notes and Discussion Questions:

Our main readings for this week are intended to give you background information about the Hillsborough River (and more nature writing). The book by Gloria Jahoda, River of the Golden Ibis was published in 1973, originally intended as part of the Rivers of America Series. The work is part anthropology, part history, part nature writing, and it is inspired by a deep sense of place. I encourage you to read as much of this as you can. It will give a rich sense of the place we now call Tampa Bay.

Jahoda claims that the Hillsborough River and bay are extremely influential in the course of the history of our state. Explain why this is so. Compare this to any previous understanding you have of the way land/water influences the history of where you live. (I asked you a similar question earlier in the year.)

Jahoda's writing about geological changes supplements our talk by Dr. Rains. What is significant about the geological history of the Hillsborough River basin? How might it influence your thinking of the present if you take a long view of history?

Place names are important markers of history, power, and identity. According to Jahoda, what names has the Hillsborough River and Tampa Bay had over time? What is significant about these names? Why Hillsborough?

Evaluate the narrative style of Jahoda's book.

How might ecocritical models or theories of place help you to understand this work?

Written nearly 40 years ago, what is dated about this book? What might a reader want to know now? (There are two full sections which you are not reading -- the book is 390 pages plus bibliography and index.)

I've also asked you to finish the essays in Wild Heart with special attention to writings by Klinkenberg (which is about Tampa Bay), and Ripple and Hutto, which discuss Florida rivers. There are no essays on the Hillsborough River or HRSP. You will have the opportunity to write such an essay for your field trip review. In what ways might these essays serve as models?

Joe Hutto writes: "The nature of a river is not about ownership but rather about membership and fundamental relationship -- geological, biological and social -- with the society of living things. A river is not merely the expedition of water from an origin to a destination but instead a complex, living, indivisble entity, and as in all life, exists as a product of its birthplace, its history, its integration with the land, and its nourishment. The bodily essence of a river is one of unimaginable power, but its wild heart and soul are fragile" (108).

What might it mean to envision a river as a membership or relationship with the society of living things? Consider this in practical, philosophical, aesthetic or other terms.


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