Introduction to literature that examines the human place in the natural world. Consideration of how writers understand environmental crises and scientific ideas of their generation.
This course will introduce students to environmental literature, focusing on narratives written about — and sometimes even with — nonhuman species. We will consider how animals, plants, and fungi operate not only as characters that come alive on the page, but also as lively interlocuters through whom stories emerge and take shape. In doing so, we will ask how fiction, nonfiction, comics, poetry, and film might prompt us to understand ourselves as interconnected with diverse nonhuman lives. How can literature teach us to act in ways that produce more equitable futures for humans and nonhumans alike? And how might contemporary narratives rekindle relationships with nonhumans that are severely threatened during a time of mass extinction, climate catastrophe, and growing social inequity? Students from all majors and identities are welcome.
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.