To solve planetary environmental crises, from climate change and ocean acification to biodiversity loss, we need to consider scientific, technological, and cultural solutions. This “Introduction to Environmental Literature” surveys cultural representations of nature and the environment across an array of socio-historical contexts, genres, and media. Beginning with excerpts from U.S. nature writing, we examine how outdoor recreation and land management, like hiking or the establishment of national parks, came to define ‘nature’ in mainstream environmentalism. Extending our analytical reading and writing practice, we analyze how environmental justice literature reworks mainstream environmentalism to assert alternative environmentalisms that reposition race, gender, and class relations. We then look at how texts from outside the U.S. further revise understandings of the material world by exploring an array of media, including documentary film, podcasts, and even a video game. This class offers you the critical reading, writing, and thinking skills to be ethical and engaged interlocutors in conversations about the environment at this critical moment in our Earth’s history.
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.