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Academic Bulletin Freshman Tutorials - 2009-10 - 9 FT 9

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FT 09-G Flyfishing: The Liberal Art

For some, flyfishing is sport. For others, it is a diversion, a hobby, an art, something of a science. Or even a religious experience, as Norman Maclean wrote in A River Runs Through It, “In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing.” For students in this Freshman Tutorial, flyfishing will begin an immersion, quite literally, a baptism of sorts, into the liberal arts and a liberal arts education. Beginning with what at Wabash we call an “immersion trip” to Bozeman, Montana the week before Freshman Orientation, this course will use flyfishing as an introduction to the liberal arts experience. In the rivers and streams around Bozeman, students will learn and practice the techniques of fly casting and fishing, enjoy the beauty of the fish and the environment they inhabit, and begin to ask and explore the myriad questions that can wash over and around them as they stand in the middle of a mountain stream waiting for a fish to rise to a fly. Upon returning to Wabash, they will read some of the fine literature written about fly fishing; learn more about the biology and ecology of the sport, hobby, or religion; study aspects of its politics and economics; and consider it from different philosophical and ethical perspectives. In this course the student will experience and examine flyfishing through the lenses of the humanist, the natural scientist, and the social scientist. He will develop skills of observation, careful and critical reading, analysis, and clear and creative communication. This course begins and ends with the premise that in the liberal art of fly fishing, to borrow again words from Norman Maclean, “all things merge into one, and a river runs through it.”
To enroll in this Freshman Tutorial, the student MUST be able to participate in the immersion trip. Students will arrive at Wabash on Saturday, August 15, fly with the class to Bozeman on August 16 and return to campus on August 21. No fly-fishing experience or equipment is required. Students will be responsible for paying for four or five evening meals, three or four lunches, and their own incidental expenditures. Travel, lodging, equipment rental, instruction, licenses, and admission fees will be paid for by Wabash College.

Hadley, David J.
Credits: 1