In January 2017, the College of Arts and Sciences and Contemplative Sciences Center at UVA will partner with Kohala Institute in Hawai'i to offer an opportunity to study a unique environment and culture from two very different disciplinary perspectives- Environmental Sciences and Religious Studies - with a strong emphasis on highly experiential education and of self-understanding. The Ecological & Contemplative Landscapes course, which will be offered at UVA in Hawai'i as a two week J-Term course, is an immersive education program designed and taught by Manuel Lerdau from Environmental Sciences, David Germano from Religious Studies and Leslie Hubbard from CSC.
This course integrates unique and highly experiential blends of learning activities integrating environmental science, religious studies, and contemplative sciences. It is based at Kohala Institute on the Big Island in Hawai’i, a remarkable property proceeding from the ocean to mountains, which constitutes a traditional Hawai’i land unit on environment, economic, social and political grounds - an ahupua’a. The class brings together classical scientific approaches to human/land/sea relations, and integrates these approaches into traditional humanistic perspectives on humans, their cultures, religion, and environments. The class blends historical, philosophical, and natural science views of the world and explores this blending in the context of traditional and modern Hawai’ian culture and environment. The class will also explore cognitive, affective, and somatic contemplative practices of self understanding and development, and integrate these into the broader themes of the profound interdependence of culture and environment.