Awakening to the Wildness Where We Live

Social Science

Course Description

Wildness is not an all-or-nothing proposition. There are variations ranging from the sunflower pushing through a crack in a city alley, to the cultivated soils of a watershed cooperative to thousands of acres of multigenerational forest.

-Gavin Van Horn

What happens when we awaken to the wildness that surrounds us and recognize our place within it? We don’t usually think about an urban landscape as being as wild as those natural pristine places that we go to experience the wonders of nature. But, as William Cronon suggested, there are problems associated with imagining that this experience of wonder “is limited to remote landscapes or is somehow dependent on pristine landscapes we ourselves do not inhabit.” Idealizing only a distant, awe-inspiring wilderness too often means disconnecting from the wildness of the nature around us, the places where we live. By rethinking our ideas about wilderness, could we hope to reconnect to landscapes where we are very present, such as the urban landscape? Do we consider Gary Snyder’s invitation to practise the wild in the place where we live?

In this course we will explore what it means to practise the wild in the place where we live. How do we understand wilderness, wildness, wild, and our place as humans within these spaces? What happens when we think about familiar places as complex, interconnected ecological systems and awake to their wildness? How are we entangled with non-human species in the place where we live? How do we practise wonder and connection to the nature around us? Is there a wildness in ourselves waiting to be discovered?

Books to Purchase (will be available at Argo Bookshop during the weeks prior to the course beginning):

  • Shafak, Elif. The Island of Missing Trees: A Novel. 

Please note that this course has a maximum enrollment of 16 students and that TMI does not allow participants to audit courses for free.

Course Details

Location: Atwater

First Session: Thursday, March 14th, 2024

Course Length: 12 weeks, Thursdays, 6:15 to 8:15 p.m.

Discussion Team: Matte Downey, Claire English, Mariela Tovar          

Degree Credit: 3 credits

Course Fee: 

$150.00 (standard tuition)
$100.00 (promotion for new students)

Administrative Fee:



$185.00 (standard tuition)
$135.00 (promotion for new students)

For 12-week courses, fees are refundable in full before the second session. If the participant withdraws after the second course, they will be charged a $50 fee. There is no refund after the third course has passed. Please note that non-attendance does not constitute a withdrawal.

Students pursuing studies for credit are encouraged to consult with their advisers as they register for courses.

Course leaders, and students wishing to use credit vouchers, should call (514) 935-9585 to pay by phone or to schedule an appointment to pay in person.

Fill the following form to register

Questions? Stuck? Give us a call at (514) 935-9585
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