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University of Oregon

Literature and the Environment

The study of literature and culture from an ecological or environmental perspective is a strong emphasis within the University of Oregon English Department.  The English graduate program is allied with Environmental Studies graduate programs, and together with Philosophy and History, contributes a strong Environmental Humanities dimension to campus-wide environmental teaching and research.

Faculty

 

Coursework Opportunities

In any given year, five or six courses are offered, ranging from introductory to advanced levels.  Although only one regular ecocriticismcourse is listed in the UO catalog — Literature and Environment (English 469/569)–other courses are offered as special topics.  Recent courses include:

    • The Animal Question and Literary Animals
    • Conquest and Cultural Representation of the New World
    • Early Modern Travel Writing
    • Ecocollapse and the Great Depression
    • Ecocritical Theory
    • Evolution and the Modern
    • Faulkner, Welty, and the Natural World
    • Forests in Early MOdern Literature
    • Henry David Thoreau
    • Humanism and the Question of the Animal
    • The Idea of Wilderness
    • Land and Landscape Aesthetics
    • Literature, Natural History, and America
    • Migration in American Literature
    • The Natural History of Modernism
    • Nature in Medieval Literature
    • Pastoralism in America: Nature, Subsistence, Leisure, and Travel
    • Rhetoric, Science, and Environmental Writing
    • Representing Nature in the Long Eighteenth Century
    • Science and Nineteenth-Century American Literature
    • Science and Nineteenth-Century American Literary Culture
    • The Science of Modernism
    • Senses of Place
    • Thoreau, Transcendentalism, and Secularization
    • Thoreau’s Modernities
    • Thoreauvian Traditions in Contemporary Environmental Writing
    • Women and the Body of the Real
    • Women Writers and the Environment

Interdisciplinary links exist with many other strong programs on campus: Environmental Studies, the Environmental Law Program at the UO Law School, the Institute for Sustainable Environment, and the departments of Landscape ArchitectureGeographyHistory, andBiology.

Graduate Study

Ph.D. in English with a Structured Emphasis in Literature and the
Environment

Graduate students in Ecocritcism have created an informal interdisciplinary group, Mesa Verde  which hosts reading and discussion groups, outdoor activities, and the Mesa Verde Colloquium in which faculty members and graduate students present and discuss papers together at several meetings each term.

Dissertations in Literature and the Environment:

  • John Coletta, “The Great Web ofBeing: Ecological and Evolutionary Aesthetics and the Ideology of Biology,” John Gage, director (U89)
  • Jeffrey Harrison, “Shelley’s caves : linguistic landscape and the aporetic gap from Pyrrho to Rorty,” Forest Pyle, director (F95)
  • Lila Harper, “Solitary travelers:  nineteenth-century women’s travel narratives,” William Rossi, director (S96)
  • Creighton Lindsay, “The rhetoric of modern American pastoral,” John Gage, director (S96)
  • Jean Beck, “Unsettling frontiers in the American West:  Robinson, Kingston, Silko,” Linda Kintz, director (U96)
  • David Gilcrest, “Greening the lyre:  environmental poetics and ethics,” John Gage, director (U96)
  • Yvonne Rauch, “Traversing the discourses:  the common grammar of wild and domestic in American nature writing and biology,” James Crosswhite, director (U97)
  • Peter Blakemore, “Writing home:  inhabitation and imagination in American literature,” Glen Love, director (U98)
  • Rob Ensign, “‘Lean down your ear upon the earth, and listen’:  the eco-consciousness of ThomasWolfe,” Karen Ford, director (U98)
  • Nic Witschi, “Landscape matters:  natural resources and the claim to realism in western American literature,” Suzanne Clark, director (U98)
  • Laird Christensen, “Spirit astir in the world:  sacred poetry in the age of ecology,” William Rossi, director (U99)
  • Aimee Ross, From ghosts to skulls:  selfhood, bodies and gender in Renaissance revenge tragedy,” George Rowe, director (F00)
  • David Sumner, “ ‘Speaking a word for Nature’:  the ethical rhetoric of American nature writing,” John Gage, director (U00)
  • Christopher Hitt, “The natural sublime:  romanticism and the aesthetics of wilderness,” Forest Pyle and Louise Westling, directors (S01)
  • Alex Hunt, “Narrating American space:  literary cartography and the American Southwest,” Louise Westling, director (U01)
  • Ce Rosenow, Pictures of the floating world:  American modernist poetry and cultural translations ofJapan,”Suzanne Clark, director (S02)
  • Keiko Kagawa, Bodies in the ‘house of fiction’:  the architecture of domestic and narrative spaces by Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell and George Eliot,” Richard Stein, director (U02)
  • Barbara Cook, Women’s transformative texts from the Southwestern Ecotone,” Louise Westling, director (S03)
  • Jennifer Shaiman, Building American homes, constructing American identities: performance of identity, domestic space, and modern American literature,” Paul Peppis, director (S04)
  • Sara McCurry, “The Places of Contemporary American Poetry,” Karen Ford, director (S05)
  • Sarah McFarland, Engendering the wild:  the construction of animals in twentieth century nature writing,” Louise Westling, director (S05)
  • Arwen Spicer, Toward sustainable change:  the legacy of William Morris, George Bernard Shaw, and H. G. Wells in the ecological discourse of contemporary science fiction,”  William Rossi, director (S05)
  • Ryan Hediger, “Embodying ethics:  at the limits of the American literary subject,”   Suzanne Clark, director (U05)
  • Nathan Straight, “Natural biographies:  ecology and identity in contemporary American autobiography,” Suzanne Clark, director (F05)
  • Angela Thompson, “Ethics of seeing and politics of place:  FSA photography and literature of the American south,” Louise Westling, director (W06)
  • Michelle Satterlee, “Shadows of the self:  trauma, memory, and place in twentieth-century American fiction,” Mary Wood, director (S06)
  • Scott Knickerbocker, “Modern Ecopoetics:  The Language of Nature/The Nature of Language,” Karen Ford, director (U06)
  • Kevin Maier, “The Environmental Rhetoric of American Hunting and Fishing Narratives:  A Revisionist History,” Suzanne Clark, director (U06)
  • Dan Shea, “The Politics of Reproduction in Early Modernist British Literature,” Paul Peppis, director (F06)
  • Kelly Sultzbach, “Embodied Modernism: The Flesh of the World in the Work of E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, and W.H.Auden”, Louise Westling, director (S08)
  • Sara Jacquette (ESSP), “Indians, Invasive Species, and Invalids: the Ecological ‘Other’ in Amnerican Environmental Thought,” Shari Huhndorf, direcotr (09)
  • Janet Fiskio (ESSP), “Ecohermeneutics and the Epistemology of Literary Form,” Louise Westling, director (S09)
  • Tristan Sipley, “Second Nature: Literature, Class, and the Built Environment 1848-1915,” William Rossi, director (S10)
  • Rachel Hanan, “Silva Rhetorical:(Re-) Placing Early Modern Environmental Language,” Lisa Freinkel, director (U10)
  • Stephen Rust, “Hollywood at the Tipping Point: Blockbuster Cinema, Globalization, and the Cultural Logic of Ecology,” Michael Aronson, director (S11)

In Progress:

  • Shane Billings, “The Ecology of Nowhere: Contemporary Literary Utopica and the Politics of Sustainability,” Suzanne Clark, director.
  • Christopher McGill, “The Aesthetics of Animality in American Literature, 1900-1979,” Suzanne Clark, director
  • Daniel Platt, “Toxicity, Postmodernism, and the Narrative of Environmental Organizing,” David Vazquez, director
  • Melissa Sexton, “‘Packing the World into Words': Ecocriticism and the Limits of Representation,” William Rossi, director

 

Professional Connections:

Oregon faculty and graduate students are active in the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment

Tina Richardson and Barbara Cook served as ASLE Graduate Liaisons for 2001-2003. During the academic year 1996-97 Laird Christensen and Peter Blakemore also held these positions. Louise Westling was elected Vice-President of ASLE for 1997 and was President in 1998.

Links

For up-to-date links to web resources in Literature and the Environment contact Jeffrey Staiger, Assistant Professor Humanities Librarian:

Jeffrey Staiger
141 Knight Library
Office Phone: 541-346-1897
Email: jstaiger@uoregon.edu