Faculty Advisor: Phil Condon, Associate Professor - 406.243.2904
Phil teaches ENST 573 each Fall semester and ENST 505 each Spring. He directs several EVST writing emphasis thesis project committees each year.
The Kittredge Distinguished Visiting Writer in EVST brings an outstanding writer to teach a semester-long graduate writing course in spring semester (EVST 594: Visiting Writer).
David Oates, an author from Portland OR, is the Kittredge Visiting Writer in EVST in Spring 2012. For info and bibliography, see www.davidoates.info.
Tentatively, Rick Bass from MT will be the Visiting Writer in Spring 2013, Janisse Ray from GA in Spring 2014, and William deBuys from NM in Spring 2015.
Previous Kittredge VW's include Rebecca Solnit 2010, Terry Tempest Williams 2009, Craig Childs 2008, Gary Ferguson 2007, Kim Todd 2006, Robert Michael Pyle 2005, Annick Smith 2004, and in 2003 the Visiting Writer Program's namesake, William Kittredge.
ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING INSTITUTE (EWI) (EVST Grad Students Eligible): Next EWI will be held Oct 3-7, 2012, in Missoula with EWI Leader Richard Manning. See www.umt.edu/ewi for full details.
Previous EWI leaders have included 2009 (Elizabeth Grossman), 2007 (Alison Hawthorne Deming), 2006 (Sharman Apt Russell), 2005 (Janisse Ray, Kim Todd, Phil Condon), 2004 (David James Duncan), 2003 (John Elder), 2002 (Robert Michael Pyle), and many others.
NEWS: Barry Lopez will be reading on campus & meeting with EVST students in March 2012.
ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING EMPHASIS
Overview & Thesis Projects:
The Environmental Writing emphasis within the Graduate Environmental Studies Program at the University of Montana is unique and flexible, and like all parts of the Program, interdisciplinary in approach and activist in focus. It offers students the opportunity to develop and use their writing skills, talents, and interests in ways that promote and demonstrate environmental concerns, awareness, and sensitivities. The culminating thesis project for the Writing Emphasis is described in the EVST Program general thesis guidelines as an "innovative, interpretive, or critical work (as in the Humanities or Fine Arts)."
As the Environmental Writing Emphasis Theses Summary makes clear, the ways in which graduate students fulfill the thesis requirement are diverse, and the range of possibilities for a Writing Thesis project is most fully understood through a review of that summary list. This diversity mirrors, on a Program scale, the great range in what is called variously, in the wider culture, Nature Writing, Environmental Writing, or the Writing of Place or Landscape. There is an ongoing resurgence in this field, even as its boundaries and definitions interconnect and evolve, in the EVST writing emphasis as in the culture itself. As Barry Lopez has said, in certainly one of the most inclusive definitions of the genre, "it is arguably more helpful to see it [nature writing] as the strain of American literature that, more than others now, is pursuing the ancient discourse on human fate."
A review of Selected EVST Writing Emphasis Alumni Book Publications reveals that Program graduates in this emphasis have followed through their thesis work to book publication (and magazine or journal publication) in significant numbers. Such results, and parallel intentions on the part of current and future students, are in keeping with the activist focus of the EVST Program itself; a main goal for Writing Emphasis students is to produce work that has a clear possibility of reaching a wider audience and contributing to the vital ongoing environmental conversations and expressions within society.
Students are encouraged and directed to conceive of their Writing Emphasis thesis project as either a book in progress, a prototype for a book, a series of related non-fiction creative works with individual publication possibilities, and/or a thorough book proposal, including sample chapters or excerpts. Such a vision, regardless of where in the spectrum of Environmental Writing any particular project might fall, indicates that Environmental Writing thesis work should be original, compelling, and impassioned, grounded in knowledge of the tradition and field, informed and critical as to the issues it raises, and written to publication standards.
Coursework leading up to the Writing thesis project is drawn from the supportive resources in the Program (annual Environmental Writing and Literature of Nature Writing courses with Phil Condon as well as an annual Writing course offered by a Visiting Writer), and from non-fiction writing courses as available in the English Creative Writing Program, Environmental History courses offered in History, Environmental Ethics & Philosophy courses offered in Philosophy, Environmental Journalism & Magazine Writing courses offered in Journalism, as well as from many courses of individual interest and relevance throughout the EVST Program itself and across campus: Forestry, Biology, Geology, Native American Studies, for example.
Writing emphasis students must meet all the distribution requirements for the EVST Program degree in addition to E. Literature & Thought: graduate Program courses in the areas of E. Science, Policy, and Engagement. The writing emphasis itself has no formal requirements beyond the required Program distribution requirements, yet in most cases, those who work on a Writing Thesis should plan to take at least one E. Wrtg course, at least one additional E. Wrtg or Non-Fiction or Journalism course, and at least one course from either Environmental Literature, Philosophy, or History. If students intend to complete Program work in two years, it's most workable to have a writing thesis idea and proposal in mind by the end of the first year.
Selected faculty from other departments and programs who offer courses of major interest and relevance to Writing emphasis students include the following:
- Deborah Slicer, Philosophy: Env Ethics & Env Philosopy
- Dan Flores, History: Env History
- Steve Schwartz, Communications: Env Rhetoric
- Dan Kemmis, Center for the Rocky Mtn West: Env Policy
- Pat Williams, Center for the Rocky Mtn West: Env Policy
- Judy Blunt, English: Creative Writing NonFiction
- Jeff Hull, Journalism: Magazine Freelancing and Outdoor Writing
OTHER ENVIRONMENTAL WRITING OPPORTUNITIES:
Other opportunities are available to Writing students: working on, writing for, and/or editing the nationally known and distributed graduate student journal Camas: The Nature of the West, produced by students in fall and spring; reading in the Wild Mercy community nature writing reading series each year; and attending the Environmental Writing Institute, a workshop led by a nationally known environmental writer and attended by a combination of second-year EVST student writers with other writers, teachers, and students from around the country each fall.
Prospective applicants or any writing students considering the EVST Program are encouraged to apply to EWI. Many EVST graduate writing students in the past have attended EWI before they applied to the Program and attendance at EWI is an excellent way to get a sense of our Program and of western MT.
The WILD MERCY community reading series for nature and environmental writing enters its eighth year in AY 2010-11. Monthly readings feature 2 writers each evening: EVST graduate students, EVST Visiting Writers, writing alumni, & more.
Questions, visits, or discussions about the Writing Emphasis are welcome at any time. It's also easily aranged for prospective students or applicants to correspond or talk with current students.
Contact Phil Condon.
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