Species in Print: Extinction and Archive
This course takes an innovative approach to literature and environment, by combining the history of science with book history, and art, animal, and media studies. We will follow the development of natural history from antiquity to contemporary bio-science, through the changing modes of species media. It is not possible to have species without modes of reproduction and representation. As media have changed, from manuscript to print, from painting to printing to photography, and from specimen collections to genomic databases, species diversity has changed as well. Both visual and verbal conventions for species classification operate within the constraints of media reproduction technologies. We will study natural history and species media from the Renaissance to the age of genomics, and devote particular attention to 18th and 19th-century figures important both in literary history and the history of science such as William Bartram and John James Audubon.
Literature, 1789 to the present courses focus on literary work produced over more than two centuries -- from the period of British romanticism and the early republic of the United States up to now -- in order to foster familiarity with key works in British and American literary history. Literary history illustrates how literary works reflect, address, and resist the social and political environments in which they are produced as well as other works that have preceded them.