Harrison Middleton University
The Raven
Gertrude Stein
astronomical clock
Rachel Carson

Category: Environment

We’re excited that you’ve joined the conversation! At HMU, we want to continue the great authors’ conversations in a contemporary context, and this blog will help us do that. We look back to Aristotle and the early philosophers who used reason and discourse to gain wisdom and now we endeavor to do the same every day.


January 14, 2022

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Though I do not excel at problem solving, I always like to know that someone has a plan. I like the security of emergency plans in hotels, for example. In the outdoors, I have first-aid supplies for all sorts of possibilities. And I never leave home without water and gear to change a tire. So while recently reading Bill Gates’s book How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and The Breakthroughs We Need,

 » Read more about: Book Review: How to Avoid a Climate Disaster  »

December 3, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Listen to “Misty Mountain Hop” by Led Zeppelin while reading today’s blog.

In The Meaning of Travel by Emily Thomas, she explains that mountains used to be feared, vile, despicable places. In literature, they were described with disdain and hatred. She quotes John Donne’s “Anatomy of the world” in which he calls mountains “warts and pock-holes” as one example (113).

 » Read more about: Summit: Mountain Travel  »

February 5, 2021

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

“Joy, in part, is the justice we give ourselves.” – Dr. Drew Lanham

This post is about the love of being. Also, the love of birds. After listening to Krista Tippett (of OnBeing) interview Dr. Drew Lanham, ornithologist, writer, and Wildlife Biologist at Clemson University, I felt the first few positive strings of hope arrive.

 » Read more about: Joy of Being  »

Thanks to Dylan O’Hara, a 2020 HMU Fellow in Ideas, for today’s post.

May 22, 2020

Some of the research that has inspired me the most over the last two years or so has been Urban History. The academic crossover between History, Anthropology, Political Science, Cartography, Geography, and Environmental Studies suddenly opened up a whole new world of exploration for me. I was excited to find it was creative, expressive, expansive,

 » Read more about: A Study in Urban History  »

April 24, 2020

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

“If you observe the hot-foot sun and the moon’s phases,/ To-morrow will never cheat you” – Virgil, Georgics, Book I

In celebration of poetry this month, our April Quarterly Discussion focused on Virgil’s Georgics, Book I, and a selection of poems from Wendell Berry’s Farming: A Handbook. Not only do these readings align with National Poetry Month,

 » Read more about: April Quarterly Discussion Review  »

February 21, 2020

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

In her book, Appalachian Elegy, bell hooks links poetry and place. At the book’s outset, in Elegy #1, the narrator invokes spirits in order to speak to all of us. The narrator asks the dead to “speak to us/ from beyond the grave/ guide us/ that we may learn.” This narrator promises that in time,

 » Read more about: Poetry and Place in Appalachian Elegy  »

October 18, 2019

Thanks to Jennifer Taylor, a 2019 Harrison Middleton University Fellow in Ideas recipient, for today’s post.

Harari, Yuval N. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind. [Toronto]: Signal, 2014.

I have often heard that if we choose not to learn from the mistakes of history, we will inevitably end up repeating them. Though it is undeniably very practical advice to be aware of the perils and pitfalls to which we as human beings are susceptible,

 » Read more about: BOOK REVIEW: Sapiens  »

July 19, 2019

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

In Creative Evolution, Henri Bergson uses natural science as the basis for his arguments towards a new understanding of reality. This July, a group of us discussed two sections from Creative Evolution in order to better understand Bergson’s philosophical ideas. In this work, Bergson explains that two popular views of reality cannot fully account for the way that the world presents itself.

 » Read more about: Bergson and Our Quarterly Discussion  »

April 26, 2019

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

Spring is upon us. Just as blossoms begin to show their strength, color, and vibrancy, so too the weather changes and begins to warm. All of the seasonal changes often add up to a change in attitude as well. Flowers, I believe, bring out the best of human nature, fostering images of beauty, strength, love, hope, and imagination. But where does the beauty begin?

 » Read more about: The Book of Seeds  »

March 1, 2019

Thanks to Alissa Simon, HMU Tutor, for today’s post.

I never needed a reason to love the world, I simply just always have. With its faults and near-misses, its greed and its hope. I love the way it is patched together like a great quilt of countries and languages, mountains and deserts. Most of all, I love, and am humbled by the fact that somehow I participate in that great,

 » Read more about: Mary Oliver’s Contributions  »

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