ENGLISH 320 - Literature and the Environment
Section: 002 Gender, Sexuality, and the Environment
Term: FA 2018
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

When contemporary environmentalism urges us to become planetary stewards, it often does so in fairly familiar (and familial) terms, asking us to “love the planet,” to save “Mother Earth,” to embody the chaste restraint implicit in mottos like “leave no trace” or “take only pictures, leave only footprints.” And yet the canon of American environmental literature is also full of more surprising paradigms of relation: queer forms of love burgeoning in natural spaces, human bodies exposed to – and ultimately consubstantial with – environmental toxins, characters whose primary attachments are to grizzly bears or trees or the lingering ghosts of the dead. Through close readings of such texts’ content and form alike, we will see if we might envision a new approach to environmental stewardship, one inspired by queer and gender theory’s openness to non-normative affects, temporalities, relational patterns, and practices of embodiment. Along the way, we will find ourselves asking questions like the following: How are spaces gendered, and how does that shape what it means to understand ourselves as their caretakers? How do we reckon with the permeable, indistinct boundaries between our bodies and the environments in which we dwell? How do we account for the forms of affection that we so often feel for the natural world and its nonhuman/inanimate inhabitants, even (or perhaps especially) when such beings seem unable to love us back? Texts will include fiction by Rick Bass, Annie Proulx, and Sarah Orne Jewett; films by Werner Herzog, Agnès Varda, and Todd Haynes; nonfiction by Rachel Carson, Henry David Thoreau, and Rebecca Solnit; and work in contemporary ecocriticism, queer theory, and gender studies.

Course Requirements:

Four 4-5pp papers, final exam.

Intended Audience:

No data submitted

Class Format:

No data submitted

ENGLISH 320 - Literature and the Environment
Schedule Listing
002 (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: 9780618919666
The Lives of rocks : stories, Author: Bass, Rick, 1958-, Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company 2007
Other Textbook Editions OK.
ISBN: 9780618249060
Silent spring., Author: Carson, Rachel., Publisher: Mariner Books (Houghton Mifflin) 2002
ISBN: 9780446675505
Parable of the sower, Author: Butler, Octavia E., Publisher: Warner Books 2007
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