This course is available for students of the Honours College Humanities Lab.
Students in the first year of their bachelors programme who achieve good academic results and are very motivated, may apply for a place in Humanities Lab.
Plants may appear as passive life forms, but don’t let their docile demeanour deceive you. They can stir up excitement, admiration, industry and even the occasional lapse of reason. For centuries plants have played an important part in shaping human history. However, their impact has often been overlooked. That is not to say humans knowingly neglect the plant kingdom and its importance. Our negligence for plant life seems to be deeper rooted. American botanists James Wandersee and Elisabeth Schussler have labelled it ‘plant-blindness’. They have divided this affliction into three main symptoms, namely (1) the inability to recognize the importance of plants in the biosphere and in human affairs; (2) the inability to appreciate the aesthetic and unique biological features of the life forms belonging to the plant kingdom; and lastly (3) the misguided, anthropocentric ranking of plants as inferior to animals, leading to the erroneous conclusion that they are unworthy of human consideration.
This course will present an intellectual cure to plant blindness through a multidisciplinary approach with (guest)lectures and excursions to the botanical garden, Naturalis and the Special Collections of Leiden University Libraries. Through topics such as botanical science, colonial and etno-botany, botanical art, and environmental ecology we will investigate the different ways in which plants shape our past, present and future.
insight into a variety of perspectives on plant-human interactions;
insight into important scientific discoveries in botany;
the ability to analyse and evaluate literature from multiple disciplines with a view to addressing different perspectives regarding plant-human interactions.
the ability to provide constructive feedback to and formulate criticism of the work of others and the ability to evaluate the value of such criticism and feedback on one’s own work and incorporate it;
the ability to participate and contribute in a discussion on the importance of plants.
Students acquire and practice a number of transferable skills, viz.,
Analysing and designing arguments
Presenting using digital presentation tools
Giving and receiving feedback
Reflection on personal development as an academic
The timetables are available through My Timetable.
Humanities Lab courses are scheduled on Friday afternoon from 13.30 to 17h.
Mode of instruction
70% Final project
As shown above
Attendance is compulsory for all meetings (lectures, seminars, excursions, etc.). If you are unable to attend, notify the lecturer (listed in the information bar on the right) in advance. Being absent may result in lower grades or exclusion from the course.
Students will get a chance to re-do or improve on their final project.
Inspection and feedback
How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.
Gibson, S., Animal, Vegetable, Mineral ? How Eighteenth Century Science Disrupted the Natural Order (Oxford University Press, Oxford 2015).
Wandersee, J.H. & E. E. Schussler (1999), ‘Preventing Plant Blindness’, The American Biology Teacher, Vol. 61, no. 2, pp. 82-86.
The full reading list will be announced in class and via Brightspace.
Students of the Humanities Lab will be enrolled in MyStudymap by the Education Administration Office of Humanities Lab. Students register for the Humanities Lab modules about two to three weeks before the start of the module through an online form. More information and the link to the form will be provided by Umail.
Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs
For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar.
For questions about enrolment, admission, etc, contact the Education Administration Office: Huizinga