Is the contemporary human fundamentally alienated from nature

Week 5 – Final Paper

Alienation and Nature

The Final Paper is a discussion of the relationships between the contemporary human, religious belief, and nature. The following question should guide your paper:

“Is the contemporary human fundamentally alienated from nature?”

Defend your answer to this question, and propose a course of action in response. If you believe most people today are alienated from nature, then

  • analyze the root cause of the alienation, and
  • defend your own solution for overcoming alienation.

On the other hand, if you believe most people today are not alienated from nature, then

  • defend a hypothesis about why so many people falsely think we are alienated, and
  • determine how you would convince them that we are not alienated.

Notice that the overarching question of alienation leads to other questions. As you think about your response to this prompt, consider using the following questions to guide your analysis and arguments. You need not answer all of them in writing, but it will be impossible to write a good paper if you have not at least thought through these issues.

  • What causes human separation from nature?
  • How ought the human spirit respond to nature and dwell within it?
  • What does it mean to say that something is natural, and how does the human fit into the larger web of natural relationships?
  • How does spirituality or religion lead to more harmony or greater fragmentation of the human with nature?
  • If we are still connected with nature, what are the attributes of those who are able to exist within nature while also dwelling within our technology-dependent society?
  • If we are not connected with nature, what are the attributes of our social, political, familial, and natural relationships that force such fragmentation?
  • What is the most appropriate ethical relationship the human ought to have with nature?
  • What are concrete methods humans can use to reconnect with nature or enhance their growing relationship with nature?
  • Are there some cultures that naturally connect more with nature? If so, what might we learn from those cultures if we are not part of them?

As you write your paper, explain your thesis about the primary topic. Think about how you will defend your position. Present arguments that support your own position while also engaging arguments that others might use to attempt to refute your position. Try to objectively put yourself in the place of someone who disagrees with your position and address the concerns of the other positions using factual evidence and logical reasoning. Remember that it is not enough to merely state the position. You must defend each position with evidence and argumentation.

The paper should be 8 to 10 pages in length (excluding title and reference pages), and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center. Utilize at least eight scholarly sources throughout your paper to support your own original argument. These sources should come from the course materials as well as the Ashford University Library. Each reading/selection/chapter from This Sacred Earth: Religion, Nature, Environment is a separate source. For information regarding APA samples and tutorials, visit the Ashford Writing Center, located within the Learning Resources tab on the left navigation menu.

Writing the Final Paper
The Final Paper:

  1. Must be 8 to 10 pages in length, double spaced, and formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  2. Must include a title page with the following:
    1. Title of paper
    2. Student’s name
    3. Course name and number
    4. Instructor’s name
    5. Date submitted
  3. Must begin with an introductory paragraph that has a succinct thesis statement.
  4. Must address the topic of the paper with critical thought.
  5. Must end with a conclusion that reaffirms your thesis.
  6. Must use at least eight scholarly sources, including a minimum of six from the Ashford University Library.
  7. Must document all sources in APA style, as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.
  8. Must include a separate reference page, formatted according to APA style as outlined in the Ashford Writing Center.

Required Text

Gottlieb, R. S. (Ed.). (2004). This sacred earth: Religion, nature, environment (2nd ed.). New York, NY: Routledge.

Required Resources

Articles

Berry, W. (2003). The body and the earth. In Art of the Commonplace: The Agrarian Essays. Washington, DC: Counterpoint Press. Retrieved from the ebrary database.

Carlson, A. (2008). Agrarianism reborn: On the curious return of the small family farm (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. The Intercollegiate Review, 43(1), 13-23. Retrieved from http://www.mmisi.org/IR/43_01/carlson.pdf

Cronon, W. (1995). The trouble with wilderness; or, getting back to the wrong nature (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. In W. Cronon (Ed.), Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (pp. 69-90). New York, NY: Norton & Co. Retrieved from http://www.williamcronon.net/writing/Cronon_Troubl…

Garreau, J. (2012). Environmentalism as religion (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. The New Atlantis: A Journal of Technology & Society, 28, 61-74. Retrieved from http://www.thenewatlantis.com/docLib/20100914_TNA2…

Ivakhiv, A. (2008). Green film criticism and its futures (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment. Retrieved from http://www.uvm.edu/~aivakhiv/GreenFilmCrit.pdf

Lutts, R. H. (1992). The trouble with Bambi: Walt Disney’s Bambi and the American vision of nature (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. Forest and Conservation History, 36, 160-171. Retrieved from http://www.history.vt.edu/Barrow/Hist2104/readings…

Multimedia

(2010). Resisting the green dragon (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video clip]. Burke, VA: Cornwall Alliance. Available from

Cameron, S.D. (Producer). (2011). David Orton: Prophet of deep ecology (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video clip]. Available from http://www.thegreeninterview.com/interviews/david-…

Corrigan, A. (Producer) (2010). Joel salatin and polyface farm: Stewards of creation (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Radio series episode]. In Corrigan, A. (Executive Producer), Earth Eats. Bloomington, IN: Indiana Public Media. Retrieved from http://indianapublicmedia.org/eartheats/joel-salat…

Disney, W. (Producer), & Hand, D. (Director). (1942). Bambi – original theatric trailer (1942) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video clip]. Burbank, CA: Walt Disney Productions. Available from

Joanes, A.S. (Producer and director). (2009). POLYFACE FARM – Joel Salatin (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video clip]. In Fresh [Documentary]. San Francisco, CA: The Video Project. Available from

Lucich, A. (Producer). (2007, February 24). Sissy farmer (Joel Salatin on forgiveness) (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video clip]. Available from

Nelson, E. (Producer), & Herzog, W. (Director). (2005). Grizzly man [Documentary]. Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate Films.

Resurgencevideo. (2008, February 25). Deep ecology (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video clip]. Available from

Suzuki, T. (Producer), & Miyazaki, Y. (Director). (1997). Princess Mononoke [Motion picture]. Japan: Studio Ghibli.

Tonkowich, J. (2010). Environmentalism & Christianity: Two radically opposed world views (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Video clip]. In Resisting the Green Dragon [Documentary]. Burke, VA: Cornwall Alliance. Available from

Valente, J. (Correspondent). (2010, July 16). Norman Wirzba extended interview (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. [Television series episode]. In A. Labaton (Executive producer), Religion & Ethics News Weekly. New York, NY: Thirteen/WNET New York. Available from http://video.pbs.org/video/1543901433/

**Please be aware you need to either buy or rent Grizzly Man (Week One) and Princess Mononoke (Week Five) in order to successfully complete this course.

Course Guide

 
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