ENGL 265 A: Introduction to Environmental Humanities

Meeting Time: 
TTh 3:30pm - 5:20pm
SMI 407
Jessica Holmes

Syllabus Description:

English 265A: Introduction to Environmental Humanities:

“Writing the Green Dream: The Power of Narrative in Twenty-First Century Environmentalism”


We live in a world of stories. From the films we watch, to political discourses of the day, to cultural histories we pass down through generations, to the feeds on our Instagram and Twitter apps, stories (both real and manufactured) transform and are transformed by our lives. This course seeks to identify and deconstruct key story-making forces in the context of contemporary environmentalism. Readings and discussions will specifically emphasize the role of corporate power both over and within the environmental movement, the artifice of “sustainability,” western bias, “green” imperialism and ecocide. Through conscientious practices of reading and writing, students will investigate the relationship(s) between language, human nature and earthly ecosystems. Central course texts include Rachel Carson’s classic revolutionary book Silent Spring (1962), Derrick Jensen’s eye-opening unmasking of false technological climate solutions, Bright Green Lies (2021), and Robin Wall Kimmerer’s moving integration of scientific knowledge with indigenous wisdom, Braiding Sweetgrass (2013).


Please see syllabus or MyUW for list of course texts (any edition is acceptable). Hard copies are required, as consistent textual annotation will comprise a portion of participation grades. Expect to read and write vigorously in this course.


Catalog Description: 
Introduces the study of the environment through literature, culture, and history. Topics include changing ideas about nature, wilderness, ecology, pollution, climate, and human/animal relations, with particular emphasis on environmental justice and the unequal distribution of environmental crises, both globally and along class, race and gender lines.
GE Requirements: 
Diversity (DIV)
Individuals and Societies (I&S)
Visual, Literary, and Performing Arts (VLPA)
Writing (W)
Last updated: 
September 11, 2021 - 3:51am