Do we read literature differently when we read for the environment? How are environmental issues connected to colonialism, gender, class, race, and disability? How should literature and film represent environmental futures and does it matter? This course introduces key questions, topics, and texts in environmental literatures, including colonialism and Native cultures, environmental justice, and future visions. We will read and discuss three novels, Louise Erdrich, Tracks; Jeff Vandermeer, Annihilation, and the U of O Common Reading text, Helena Viramontes, Under the Feet of Jesus, and, if there is time, the graphic novel, by Nick Hayes, Rime of the Modern Mariner. We will also read and discuss poetry, essays, and short films or film clips, such as the surrealist “Love Life of the Octopus,” by Jean Painlevé, and the SF film “Pumzi” by Wanuri Kahiu.
Arts & Letters (A&L) courses create meaningful opportunities for students to engage actively in the modes of inquiry that define a discipline. Courses are broad in scope and demonstrably liberal in nature (that is, courses that promote open inquiry from a variety of perspectives). Though some courses may focus on specialized subjects or approaches, there will be a substantial course content locating that subject in the broader context of the major issues of the discipline. Qualifying courses will not focus on teaching basic skills but will require the application or engagement of those skills through analysis and interpretation.
Lower-division Elective courses allow students to choose (or “elect”) courses or faculty specific to their own developing interests, enabling them thereby to shape their own educational experience. Major II students can also use one lower-division elective to fulfill the Writing Requirement with ENG 209 The Craft of the Sentence.
English Minor courses offer students centuries of cultural experience and representation in poetry, prose, drama, film, TV, new media, and folk artifacts. The English minor can focus and extend the values of a liberal arts education, while also providing extensive training in writing, speaking, and critical thinking.