“I rarely have the opportunity to meet contemporary artists, since my
research focuses on the 19th century. And Courtney Leonard's practice
is connected to important environmental issues, which made her
intervention all the more relevant.”
In November, students will spend the “Archive” class session visiting
Special Collections in Morris Library and the UD Disaster Research
Senior assistant librarian John Caldwell will talk about the 1962 Ash
Wednesday storm that severely damaged Delaware’s coast, and the DRC’s
A.R. Siders, assistant professor of public policy and administration,
will talk about coastal evacuation plans along the Eastern Seaboard.
In other sessions in November, the class will hear from a
visiting historian who has written about the Little Ice Age and its
effects on the Europeans’ first arrivals in North America, and a
visiting professor of English who has written about the weather in King
These wide-ranging topics are all designed to inspire students to think in new ways and across disciplines, Duckert said.
“If your emotions and your imagination are tied to the weather, how
does this inform your thinking?” he asked as one of the questions the
seminar explores. “The arts and the sciences are not inherently
separate. Collaboration—that’s where you do your best work.”
From Busciglio’s perspective, the seminar has been successful.
“My research will most likely involve a whole range of methods like
ecocriticism, environmental studies and material studies,” he said. “I
wanted to be more familiar with these approaches, and Professor
Duckert’s class is a good way to accomplish this in an interdisciplinary
manner, combining art, literature and science.”
More about this type of graduate course
The graduate seminar “Weather” is an example of what the Department
of English calls “colloquies” or conversation-centered seminars that are
co-designed by graduate students.
“This type of course puts interdisciplinary conversation at the
center of the seminar experience,” said Siobhan Carroll, associate
professor of English and the department’s director of graduate studies.
“We want students in these courses to be exposed to ideas and
experiences that they would not ordinarily come across if they stayed
inside the traditional boundaries of their disciplines.”
A previous seminar of this type, “The Black Atlantic and the
Archive,” led by Laura Helton, assistant professor of English, was
offered in fall 2018. That course resulted from interdisciplinary
conversations that were generated by UD’s African American Public
Carroll said the department plans to offer more of these innovative seminars.
“We believe that to produce cutting-edge scholarship we need to
create open, engaged spaces for intellectual community, in which
students and faculty from different disciplines can learn from each
other,” she said.
A Unidel Grand Challenge Grant supported the planning of the
“Weather” course. Other funding came from the departments of English,
History and Art History.
Article by Ann Manser; photos by Kathy F. Atkinson
Published Nov. 1, 2019