Course Details and Setting
The 4-credit Humanities II course is a required course for Geneseo students and satisfies the Western Civilization general education requirement of SUNY. This limited enrollment course will be taught in Concord, Massachusetts. Like Humanities author Henry David Thoreau, Geneseo students will be able to hike from the town center to Walden Pond, reading the words of a great writer amid the natural scenergy he famously celebrated. Thoreau claimed he had "travelled a good deal in Concord," discovering that an open mind and willing spirit could find enormous riches within a small radius there.
Some of the activities in this course are made possible through SUNY Geneseo's partnership with the Thoreau Society and the Walden Woods Project, both located near Walden Pond. Students use facilities made available through the generosity of these two organizations, such as Thoreau's birth house and the Thoreau Institute Library, and they participate in the Thoreau Society's Annual Gathering, which brings together Thoreau scholars and enthusiasts from around the world for several days of conference presentations and other events.
Besides Thoreau, authors Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Margaret Fuller and Louisa May Alcott lived and worked in Concord. You may literally follow in their footsteps - and also fill out your resumé - by working as a volunteer in the same garden Thoreau designed for Hawthorne, or serving the National Park Service at the nearby Minute Man National Historical Park, or assisting author and Thoreau Institute librarian Jeffrey Cramer. The class will feature field trips to downtown Boston, where colonial revolutionaries took actions derived from the words of John Locke's Second Treatise; and to the National Historical Park in Lowell, Massachusetts, to see examples of the factory system that distressed intellectuals like Karl Marx because because of its dehumanizing features.