Many of us take for granted a clear divide between the animate and inanimate. For instance: I am alive, but the chair I sit in is not. My dog is probably alive, as is the oak tree just outside my window. I am somewhat less certain about grass. Or viruses. What does this distinction between the living and nonliving mean to us? Why do we care so deeply about finding a firm line between the two? What might we discover about our world, our own assumptions, and our own ethical action if we are willing to question these categories? Many cultures and peoples throughout the world have never bothered to make such clean distinctions, and even in our contemporary western culture, a movement of philosophers has been challenging this divide from within. In this ZOOM workshop led by philosophers Henry Kramer & David Nowakowski, we explored the philosophy of animism – an orientation toward the world where everything is encountered as meaningfully alive. Access the video and other resources here!
Have you ever wondered about wonder? What exactly is the experience of wondering? Why do we feel it? When do we feel it? Why might it be valuable? And, most pressingly: how can wonder be cultivated to assist us in dealing with modern problems, both on a large scale and in our individual, personal lives? In this 2½-hour workshop led by 2019-2020 Student Scholar Fellow Henry Kramer we investigated the connections between wonder, nature, imagination, and play through lecture, discussion, and exercises. Access resources and photos here!
Congratulations to 2019 Merlin Community Scholar Fellow, Thomas Baumeister, for making the paper once again with his research and writing on the practical and moral challenges associated with elk shoulder seasons. His article was picked up by four papers across Montana: Helena Independent Record, Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the Missoulian, and Butte Standard.
Montana is home to a lot of elk—134,557 to be more precise. Elk reign prominently in our state’s identity and Montana is better for it. Yet, according to the Elk Management Plan put forth by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks (FWP), this is 42,419 elk too many. In this article, 2019 Merlin Community Scholar Fellow Thomas Baumeister, discusses the numerous practical and moral challenges of elk shoulder seasons. Read more!