Re-Valuing Nature: Environmental Humanities in the 21st Century (C.E.) (w/C. Lit 596A)
This course is designed as an introduction to the environmental humanities, focusing on ecocriticism as an approach, but also dealing with works from environmental history, ethics, economics, epidemiology, climatology and other areas. Ecocriticism grows in part out of a longstanding critical interest in the topic of nature and its representation in literary texts; it differs in adopting a more contemporary sense of the ecological relation between human beings and the environments they inhabit. We will be surveying some of the critical literature in this field, beginning with selections from two collections of essays that attempt to define the field (The Ecocriticism Reader and Uncommon Ground), then looking at several topical areas (economics, religion, evolution, ecology, toxicity and climate), both through the lens of critical analyses and “literary” sorts of texts: Robinson Crusoe, On the Origin of Species, A Sand County Almanac, and Arctic Dreams. This will be a reading-intensive, rather than writing-intensive class, but coursework will include a series of short papers on the primary texts, as well as written/oral group research projects (one small, one larger) on critical literature. Advanced undergraduates interested in this area of study are welcome in the course; contact instructor for further information.