The official area for all things ecocritical and environmental for MLA members!
Water Worlds: Cultural Responses to Sea Level Rise & Catastrophic Flooding
As a result of climate change, the world that will take shape in the course of this century will be more water inundated than we’re accustomed to. The polar ice caps are melting, glaciers are retreating, ocean levels are rising, polar bear habitat is disappearing, countries are jockeying for control over a new Arctic passage, while low-lying cities and small island nations are confronting the possibility of their own demise. Catastrophic flooding events are increasing in frequency, as are extreme droughts. Hurricane-related storm surges, tsunamis, and raging rivers have devastated regions on a local and global scale. In this seminar we will turn to the narratives and images that the human imagination has produced in response to the experience of overwhelming watery invasion, from Noah to New Orleans. Objects of analysis will include mythology, ancient and early modern diluvialism, literature, art, film, and commemorative practice. The basic question we’ll be asking is: What can we learn from the humanities that will be helpful for confronting the problems and challenges caused by climate change and sea level rise?
- American Landscape in Literature Syllabus
- Disability and Environment Syllabus
- Intro to Lit & Composition Course: Global Environments
Animal Studies Course
- Intro Env Hum Course
- Ecocinema Course
German Course on NATURE, CULTURE, CATASTROPHES
Upper-division German course on Nature, Culture, Catastrophes for undergraduates at Trinity University.
Includes a wide array of texts from 1800-today.
Four main Topics:
1. Nature, Culture, Catastrophes
2. The Anthropocene, Climate Change, and Weather
3. The Pastoral and "Natural" Catastrophes
4. "Culture" Catastrophes and Diseases
Science Fiction and the Environment
Undergraduate course at Trinity University: Counts toward the comparative literature minor, environmental studies major, geosciences major and as a literary studies course for the common curriculum.
1. Eco-Warriors and Science Fiction Exporers
2. Other-worldly Ecologies, Economics, and Ecotopias
3. Eco-Catastrophes: Post-Apocalypse, Pollution, and the Posthuman
Introduction to Climate Change Fiction
Syllabus for an introductory lit course on "Climate Change Fiction." The students are almost entirely non-humanities majors and mostly underclassmen and the course is designed to be an introduction both to the study of literature and to the study of climate change.
Scale of Catastrophe: Ecology and Transition, Medieval to Early Modern
Here's the syllabus I put together for a graduate and postdoctoral seminar I'm currently teaching at the Folger Shakespeare Library. Given the setting, it is quite primary source heavy! But I tried to integrate contemporary ecotheory with the medieval and early modern texts.
Animals in Literature syllabus
I've taught this syllabus twice, with remarkable results: it's an upper-level undergraduate seminar that ranges through a variety of texts as well as a bunch of films and supplementary essays or articles. In practice, it also includes fairly extensive use of images in powerpoints (at least one whole unit on artistic representations of animals, another on the representation of cat-killing in Australian, and a third on animal experimentation). I included a couple of unusual books alongside the expected ones: Vladimov's Faithful Ruslan and Aalborg's novella, Cat Tracks, give some international scope, and Adams's Plague Dogs turns out to be really useful in framing a discussion about literary technique. The film Passion in the Desert also prompts students to think about colonialism in several registers (not to mention its provocative sexual dimension).
U.S. Lit and the Anthropocene, from 1800 (upper undergrad)
This is a new course (road-testing it this spring) for junior/senior-level undergraduates at the University of Mississippi. It asks students to think about how American authors have framed the problem of losing nature from 1800 forward. It's organized into four units which hinge on each of the four novels we'll be reading: Child's Hobomok and the "vanishing American;" Wister's The Virginian and the receding frontier; Butler's Dawn, nuclear apocalypse, and posthumanism; and finally Boyle's A Friend of the Earth and the difficulty of imagining life after nature.
Contact Ecologies (grad seminar)
Syllabus for a graduate seminar on "Ecologies of Conquest / Contact Ecologies" I taught at the George Washington University. The primary materials are mostly medieval.