SPRING QUARTER 2023
ENGL/ENV M30: Environment and Cultures. TTh 9:30-10:45am, LaKretz 110
Environmental issues are often envisioned as mainly questions of science, technology, and policy. The environmental humanities approach environmental problems instead as predominantly issues of cultures, histories, social structures, and values. This course will introduce you to the major concepts, narratives, and images that have shaped environmentalist thought in the United States since the 1960s and compare them to environmental thought, writing, and activism in other parts of the world. How do environmental problems such as pollution, soil erosion, deforestation, biodiversity loss or global warming change when they are seen through the lens of different histories, memories, languages, and cultures? How do particular media, storytelling templates, and images shape our thinking about such issues? How can we change existing stories and images? How do we best engage when fundamental differences in the framing of a particular ecological problem emerge?
We will explore these questions through a wide range of textual and visual works from environmental scholarship, nonfiction, and journalism to graphic novels, films, and videos. The course will also introduce you to the way in which humanists and social scientists in anthropology, geography, history, literary studies, and philosophy (among other disciplines) have engaged with environmental issues. We will explore how concepts such as pastoral, wilderness, toxicity, environmental justice, biodiversity and conservation, trash, and climate change, and the Anthropocene have shaped how different communities think about environmental issues, and how we might think about them differently.
ENGL 110V: Narrative Across Media. MW 4:00-5:50pm, Dodd 154.
This course introduces students to basic concepts, theories, and methods in research on narrative across the media of fiction, nonfiction, fictional film, documentary film, videogames, graphic novels, and digital forms of narrative on and off social media. The class will explore storytelling situations, plot structure, character construction, fictionality and nonfictionality, cultural story templates, modes of reading/hearing narrative, image-text relations, and cross-media translation (text, film, games, Internet). It will survey different approaches to these issues, from structuralist and sociological approaches to narrative theory in the 1960s and 70s to recent ones that emphasize empirical study, quantitative tools, and digital media. Students will be encouraged to apply the theoretical and methodological tools to their own areas of interest and research.This course counts as an elective for the Professional Writing Minor.