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ENGLISH 21N: Ecologies of Communication

Meet the Instructors | General Education Requirements

Course Description

What remnants of our culture will future generations discover and decipher and how will they interpret these? How will they access the technologies we have created? How will they understand the environmental changes that current humans have caused? And how will their encounters with the past inform their own future? This IntroSem explores a humanistic perspective on sustainability, viewing the human record itself as a resource and exploring how it might be sustained in an ethical and meaningful way. Broadly, we ask what is the science behind sustaining the ecology of historic heritage? 

General Education Requirements

Meet the Instructors

Elaine Treharne

Elaine Treharne

"I’m a Professor of Humanities and English and I study medieval culture and the history of handwriting and textual production. In my work, I ask what it means to engage with the past. This has become increasingly important to me as I live here in Stanford, 5000 miles from my homeland of Wales. I find I am intellectually energised by medieval things--churches, books, art, poetry--and my work with medieval manuscripts makes me think constantly about how earlier peoples conceived of and interacted with the world around them. This encourages me to ask how we can connect with those who came before us, and what, then, can the past teach us? Many of my publications have focused on medieval objects, and I am struck by how much each one reveals about its producers, users, and abusers. I’ve sought to experience as much as possible about the culture of people a thousand years ago, partly by close analysis of texts and artifacts, but also by walking and staying along pilgrimage routes in Europe."

Learn more about Elaine Treharne

Kathryn Starkey

Kathryn Starkey

"I’m a professor of Medieval Studies and German Studies, and my research is on literature, language, and culture. Like my co-teacher Professor Treharne, I’m very interested in medieval things—objects that medieval people used, created, and imagined—and what these can tell us about how they experienced the world they lived in. I’ve published work on the sensory experience of the Middle Ages, and I’ve also published books and articles on manuscripts, and material culture—including a paper on medieval shoes. I’m also interested in exploring how literature creates immersive and fascinating worlds limited only by poets’ imaginations. What might such creative texts reveal about the cultures that created them? I love to travel to foreign countries to experience different languages and cultures—particularly if there are medieval churches, towns, and sites of cultural importance to visit."

Learn more about Kathryn Starkey