Saturday, July 2, 2016

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

Room 212 takes on the Speedy Eity on the 4th
of July!
Instead of explaining to people what I’m interested in, I wish I could just invite everyone to my house and have them look at everything in my room.  The ceiling of is covered in maps, and the walls are papered with postcards sent to me or collected from museum visits or tourist shops, prints and collages I made in high school, cut outs from calendars and magazines, bibs from some of my favorite running and skiing races, and tapestries that my mom got as a gift from people who attended the artist residency where she works (located just down the street from my house and basically where I grew up). The book shelf my dad built me wraps around my bed, filled with childhood favorites and to-read stacks.  

This is the environment I created for myself growing up, surrounding myself with the places I’d been and the places I hope to go, with books to supplement adventures in the meantime.  I have always loved reading, writing, history, and geography.  I love to be outside, something that has fueled my enjoyment for running, hiking, and skiing.  While I have a difficult time trying to pinpoint a concrete passion for something at this point in my life, somewhere along the way I decided that I’m interested in people and places.  Hence my choice to study Sociology and Environmental Studies.  With these two fields, basically everything interesting is covered: society, culture, politics, feminism, history, food systems, supply chains, art, imagination, and revolution: in short - adventure.  

In high school I was not exposed to either of these fields, but I thoroughly enjoyed my history classes.  So when I took a Sociology class my first semester of college and my professor introduced us to C. Wright Mills’ The Sociological Imagination, explaining how Sociology functions at the intersection of biography and history, I felt that Sociology seemed like applied history and a way of putting yourself in historical, social, and structural narratives.  It means looking at people’s individual choices, actions, and stories on one level and examining those of society as a whole on another level - a lens that plays an important role when looking at anything related to the environment and climate change.  

I wanted to come to Menomonie and work on this project this summer to learn more about the concrete intersection between Sociology and Environmental Studies beyond the abstract. I also wanted to experience new people in a new place, and I was particularly interested in learning more about agriculture in this part of the country.  I have definitely enjoyed being able to explore the outdoors here on my runs and bike rides and have been giving a lot of thought to the idea of being able to appreciate the beauty of this place while also recognizing the important work that must be done in conserving the and repairing what has been taken away.

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