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Week 9. Worlds

This week is all about the Earth, how it changes, how old it is, how big it is, the worlds it contains and the worlds beyond it.

Due to convener illness and some uncertainty over next week's strike situation, guidance for this week is a bit delayed.

What to do during week 9

  • This is a great week to make sure you feel really really confident about your understanding and progress on the assessment.
  • By popular request, we will do a quick walk-through during the whole class learning of preparing your blog for submission.

Lecture Slides

Unit 9 slides (login required)


Critical Thinking

  1. One is sometimes said to inhabit many different worlds, from the inner worlds of one’s mind to the academic worlds in which one studies to the planetary world on which one circumnavigates the Sun. What are some worlds you inhabit, and what makes them worlds, and what is the nature of your connection to the other entities that make up each world?
  2. Reflect on your global connections through the coronavirus pandemic. How has the virus changed how you experience and understand your connections to other parts of the world? How do the virus and responses to it divide up the world (e.g. through travel restrictions, quarantine, regions of sanitation or contagion)?
  3. What year is it? Why? How many different answers to these questions can you write down?

Critical Exploration

Weather- and health-permitting, go to Holyrood Park and describe the different patterns you see in the rock there. How might these be evidence of the changing state of the Earth’s surface? (Before or afterward, look up Hutton’s Section via Curious Edinburgh.)

Self-Criticism (in a good way)

Look back at the goals you had or revised from earlier in the course. Are you on track? What do you need to do in the last two weeks of instruction so that you will be prepared to finish your assessment on your own in April? The teaching team is here to help!

Reading Guide

  • Resources on exploration, cartography, and “new worlds” on Earth: Grafton, Thongchai, Chambers et al., Cagle, Casale, “Mapping African Exploration” online exhibition, Howgego
  • Geosciences, Climate, Ocean sciences, and the spatiotemporal multiplicity of our world(s): Rudwick (two books), Coen (two books), Edwards, Rozwadowski (two books), Muka, Rupke
  • Other worlds and outer space: Messeri, Siddiqi, Nall, Macauley, Neufeld, Harrison
  • Taub's book bridges this week's theme with next week's, discussing genres of science and objectivity through ancient considerations of other worlds


A. Exploration and cultural contact always involves seeing new people and places in light of old knowledge, experiences, and assumptions. Identify an example of this or compare two examples from the course materials, discussing how specific historical figures encountered new worlds through the lens of old worlds.

B. The history of geology has involved looking closely at distinctive places to reason about distant times. Discussing one or more specific examples from the course materials, explain how scientific thinkers have converted analyses of local places into understandings of time and geological transformation.

C. Changing infrastructures of collecting information from different places have been fundamental to efforts to define and explain climates at different scales. Identify an information infrastructure or technology from the course materials and examine its role in enabling people to produce climatological knowledge.

intro/worlds.txt · Last modified: 2024/03/18 14:17 by mjb