Fall 2022 Course Details: Environmental Theory
How can we talk about environmental crisis? What words can we use to represent the natural world—and human interactions with it? Is it possible to describe nature without cultural projections? How can language change vision, policy, action? In this course, we will grapple with the urgent need to articulate environmental issues by reading contemporary critics who are inventing vocabularies to do so, such as Rob Nixon on “slow violence” and Stacy Alaimo on “trans-corporeality.” We’ll read 19th-21st century writers who write about different environments from different perspectives, shaped in part by race, gender, indigeneity, and class: Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Mary Austin, Rachel Carson, Barry Lopez, Evelyn White, Joy Harjo, and Octavia Butler. We’ll read ecocriticism by Carolyn Merchant, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Bruno Latour, and Kimberly Ruffin. We’ll explore ecofeminism, environmental justice, postcolonial ecology, and the concept of the Anthropocene. Students taking 736 for Women’s Studies credit will write papers that focus on women writers or on gender and the environment. Writing intensive. Satisfies a post-1800 literature requirement for English majors. In fall 2022, this class fulfills a DH requirement for the TBD major. Students taking 897M will write a graduate-level research paper; students taking 897M for credit towards a Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies will also write such a paper and will focus their written work on women writers, ecofeminist theory, or gender and the environment.