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photo of an internet photo of people at the white house protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline

I came to Dartmouth hoping for an enriching liberal arts experience, and several of my classes have delivered on that in my first year. I think this is thanks to a few key things from the Dartmouth professors who value interdisciplinary studies, focus on current pressing challenges in the world, and emphasize discussions and varied methods of learning. 

In my first term at Dartmouth, Fall 2023 (23F in Dartmouth lingo) two of my classes had some fascinating overlaps: Religion and Technology and ENVS 2 Introduction to Environmental Studies (check out my post about this class!). Namely, we had a section in the religion course about the environment including an excerpt of Rachel Carson's 'Silent Spring' (which came full circle and showed up in my seminar class this current spring term) and content on 'environmental jeremiads' as well. Another through line was a documentary in ENVS 2 and a reading and discussion in religion and tech about the Dakota Access Pipeline, meaning that both courses also managed to veer into Native American studies for a moment as well (something I thought was wonderful). Both of these courses were wonderful for stimulating my desire for interdisciplinary content, and I was thrilled to be able to make connections between the two courses. 

I am taking my second geography course right now called Global Health and Society; this past winter I took the class Living with Nature, which is about nature-society relations. Since these course are in the same department it is less surprising that I have found overlaps, but they are still standing out to me. There has been a reading overlap as well as major analytical themes, such as political economy and political ecology frameworks. These two frameworks were not something I had encountered before taking these classes, but I would highly recommend checking them out since they conceptualize big challenges in the world in a more holisitic way, at least in terms of what might currently be actionable (i.e. working within current limits of the economy and government to make change).  

I already mentioned my global health course, and some of the foundational approaches were very similar to my nature-based solutions seminar class (taught by the same professor as ENVS 2!). Both professors had the class question our preconceived notions about our mindsets with solving challenges in the given fields. In nature-based solutions, we thought about the difference between valuing nature for its physical resources (an extractive mindset) or its intrinsic value. In global health we talked about how priorities are assigned, what terminology is used, along with the colonial origins of many practices in the field. These classes provide some incredible opportunities for learning through critical thinking. 

I hope you were able to get a sense of how much I have enjoyed these classes!

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