Words & Worlds: Language, Landscape & the Power of Story in Contemporary Environmental Literature
Schedule: MW 10:30 - 12:20 CMU B006
Instructor: Jessica M Holmes
We live in a world of stories. From the films we watch, to the political debates continuously reshaping national identities, to the cultural histories we pass down through generations, to the feeds on our Instagram and Twitter apps, stories transform and are transformed by the very nature of our existence. In a time of environmental crisis, social and political upheaval, globalization, mass consumption, species extinction and widespread poverty, what is the relationship between language and the world? This course will seek to interrogate such a question and to consider (through the practice of reading and writing) how this relationship shapes our understanding and use of texts. Readings will include a range of environmentally-focused contemporary works (including novels, poems, essay and films) in an effort to invite students to investigate the relevance of language to landscape, to think through questions of genre, technique and audience, and to identify their own personal stakes within a body of literature. Topics will include evolving discussions of climate change, environmental justice, human/non-human relations, and the Anthropocene, with particular emphasis on environmental justice and the unequal distribution of environmental crises, both globally and along class, race, gender and species lines. Students will also be asked to periodically consider the affective dimensions of problems such as climate change and environmental catastrophe.
Full syllabus here: