ENGL 4573, Ecology and Representation
Dr. Sean Dempsey:
In addition to the English majors who have already signed up for the class, I would love to also draw upon a wider mix of folks from different majors (in both the humanities and the sciences) who might like to join us in pondering the ways in which literature and art more generally mediate ecological concerns.
This course will explore what it means to think about literature and representation in relation to physical environments and ecological concerns. However, since Ecocriticism is a branch of literary theory whose influence and interests have moved far beyond the analysis of what was traditionally thought of as “nature writing,” the range of topics we will consider includes both the traditional and the cutting edge (the pastoral, the sublime, taste, landscape, wilderness, animals, vitalism and mesmerism, objects and things, parasites, neurobiology, and biopolitics).
Like Ecocriticism itself, our literary readings will be rooted in Romanticism (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Shelley, Byron, Clare, Charlotte Smith), but will branch out to other writers of the nineteenth century, both British and American (Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman, Dickinson, Darwin, Ruskin, Hopkins). More recent work in both prose (Maclean, Coetzee, Harding) and poetry (Eliot’s The Waste Land, Ginsburg’s Howl, as well as a wide range of works drawn from the recently published The Ecopoetry Anthology and The Arcadia Project) will also be explored.
In addition, brief critical readings will be culled from the work of philosophers (Heidegger, Kant, Spinoza), theorists (Adorno, Derrida, Bennett, Connolly), and literary critics (Bate, Buell, Morton). During the course of the semester we will also consider how these issues relate to other media such as painting, music, and film. A particular emphasis will be placed on how the films of Terrence Malick (The New World, The Tree of Life) may relate to both ecology and literary form.
Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein. ISBN 978-0199537150
Maclean, Norman, A River Runs Through It and Other Stories. ISBN 978-0226500669.
Coetzee, J. M., The Lives of Animals. ISBN 978-0691070896.
Harding, Paul, Tinkers. ISBN 978-1934137123.
Additional readings will be placed on Blackboard.
Masters degree in Renewable Energy Systems Education