This course offers an introduction to the environmental humanities. Literature, culture, and the environment are explored in their interlinkages along five examples: the study of food and consumption, species diversity, waste and pollution, climate change, and the concept of the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene is a concept that describes the scale of human impact on the Earth in geological terms. Human impact is growing in the area of land use for food production, the altercation of ecosystems, loss of biological, linguistic, and cultural diversity, climate change resulting in large-scale environmental injustices and global inequalities, and accelerated unforeseen species extinction. We will explore the social and cultural dimension of the concept of the Anthropocene and how the study of literature and culture can contribute to an understanding of the historical, ethical, and aesthetic dimension of this new era of the human. Readings will be diverse including literary works, films, cultural materials, eco-documentaries, etc. This class is taught in the team learning approach.
As a result of this class, students will be able to explain key concepts of environmentalism and how they relate to diversity, identify a range of approaches to the study of the environment, read and analyze texts closely and work in teams. Students apply the questions in each unit to a variety of cultural contexts and approaches applying their knowledge into actions, habits, and beliefs, and improve active learning through group work and individual research.