ENGLISH 328 - Writing and the Environment
Section: 001 Environmental Writing
Term: FA 2018
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
With permission of instructor.
May be elected twice for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The hallmark Wilderness Act of 1964 defined wilderness as an area where the Earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain. First-generation environmental writers, sensing the increasing threats to these areas, particularly those most familiar to them, frequently used their writing as a vehicle to essentially “preserve” and share the “untrammeled” place. Second and third generation environmental writers no longer have that luxury. We live in a world where nature and culture are always in contact. This course examines today’s environmental writing with this relationship in mind. Students will be introduced to the art and practice of environmental writing, with particular focus on reading and writing the interdisciplinary environmental essay. Through both analysis and practice, students will increase their understanding of the specific traits of this genre, and begin to recognize the traits of the continually forming subgenres, ranging from toxic discourse to interspecies communication to the commodification of the global commons. This in turn will aid students in evaluating not only published writing but peer writing, as they recognize the potential pitfalls and challenges presented by environmental writing, but also, when successfully executed, its potential to influence social change.

Texts will include American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau, Peter Sauer’s Finding Nature: Writing on Nature and Culture, and Barry Lopez’ About this Life.

Intended Audience:

Students with an interest in the environment and learning to write about the environment, regardless of major.

Class Format:


ENGLISH 328 - Writing and the Environment
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
TuTh 10:00AM - 11:30AM
NOTE: Data maintained by department in Wolverine Access. If no textbooks are listed below, check with the department.

ISBN: 9781598530209
American earth : environmental writing since Thoreau, Publisher: Literary classics of the United States 2008
ISBN: 9780679434542
About this life : journeys on the threshold of memory, Author: Lopez, Barry Holstun, (1945- ), Publisher: Vintage Books 1999
ISBN: 9781571313065
The future of nature : writing on a human ecology from Orion magazine, Publisher: Milkweed 2007
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