Monterey Bay is home to the nation¿s largest marine sanctuary and also home to Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station. This course, based at Hopkins, explores the spectacular biology of Monterey Bay and the artistic and political history of the region. We will conduct investigations across all of these contexts toward an inclusive understanding of ¿place¿, ultimately to lead us to explore our own lives in relation to the natural world, historical and cultural milieu, and the direction of our individual life path.n The location at the entry point to the Big Sur Coast of California provides a unique outdoor laboratory in which to study the biology of the bay and the adjacent coastal lands. It is also an area with a deep cultural, literary and artistic history. We will meet marine biologists, experts in the literary history of Cannery Row and the writings of John Steinbeck, local artists and photographers, experts in the neuroscience of creativity, as well as people who are very much involved in the forces and fluxes that steer modern culture. This rich and immersive approach provides students a rare opportunity to reflect on their relationships to nature, culture, and their own individual goals.nThe course emphasizes interactions and discussions. We will be together all of the time, either at our base at the Belden House in Pacific Grove, hiking and camping in Big Sur¿s pristine Big Creek Reserve on the rocky coast, and traveling to the Tassajara Mountain Zen Center in the Ventana wilderness for several days. This is not an ordinary academic experience, instead it is an adventure of a personal, intellectual, spiritual and physical kind. We welcome people with wide interests; artists, poets, writers, engineers, scientists and musicians. Mostly we invite people with an open mind and a sense of adventure. nStudents are expected to have read the several books provided as introductory material before the course begins, and each is also expected to become our local expert in an area such as plant identification, bird identification, poetry, weather prediction, photography, history, ethnography, etc. The course requires an individual research project of your choice on a topic related to the general theme. Final reports will be presented at the last meeting of the group and may involve any medium, including written, oral, and performance media.n Note: This course will be held at the Hopkins Marine Station in the Monterey region, and housing will be provided nearby. Transportation from campus to the housing site will be provided once students arrive to campus on Monday, September 4 (Labor Day). Transportation to campus from the Belden House in Pacific Grove will be provided on Saturday, September 23.