ENGLISH 320 - Literature and the Environment
Section: 001 Literature and Oil
Term: WN 2013
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Theme, Sustain
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

This course will investigate the connections between literary/cultural production and petroleum as the substance that makes possible the world as we know it, both as an energy source and a component in the manufacture of everything from food to plastic. Our current awareness of oil's scarcity and its myriad costs (whether environmental, political, or social) provides a lens to read for the presence (or absence) of oil in texts in a variety of genres (prose fiction, nonfiction, poetry, film, photography) and national traditions (including, but not limited to the U.S., Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Martinique, Canada, Ecuador, Iran).

As we begin to imagine a world "beyond petroleum," this course will confront the ways in which oil shapes both the world we know and how we know and imagine the world. Oil will feature in this course in questions of theme (texts "about" oil), of literary form (are there common formal conventions of an "oil novel"?), of interpretive method (how to read for oil), of transnational circulation (how does "foreign oil" link U.S. citizens to other spaces?), and of the materiality (or "oiliness") of literary culture (how does the production and circulation of texts, whether print or digital, rely on oil?).

Course Requirements:

Assignments will include short papers and at least one exam; discussion will be an important component of this course.

ENGLISH 320 - Literature and the Environment
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
TuTh 11:30AM - 1:00PM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9780394755267
Cities of salt, Author: Muni?f, ?Abd al-Rah?ma?n., Publisher: Vintage Books 1989
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 0980544009
Cyclonopedia : complicity with anonymous materials, Author: Negarestani, Reza., Publisher: Re.press 2008
ISBN: 1576875474
Curse of the black gold : 50 years of oil in the Niger Delta, Author: photographs by Ed Kashi ; edited by Michael Watts., Publisher: PowerHouse 2010
ISBN: 0393339645
Oil on water : a novel, Author: Habila, Helon, 1967-, Publisher: W. W. Norton & Co 2011
ISBN: 0385720408
Ali and Nino, Author: Kurban Said ; translated by Jenia Graman., Publisher: Anchor Books 1st Anchor 2000
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