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ENVIR 495 Global Environmental Literature – Summer 2017


ENVIR 495 B:  Global Environmental Literature (cross-list with ENGL 242 G)


Credits: 5

Summer 2017: Full term

T/TH 9:00 – 11:30 am

Open to all, but especially soph, jr, sr

Optional “W” credit


Description: While the study of representations of the environment in literary text has been historically focused on non-fiction nature writing from the United States, rich traditions of environmentalism and environmental literature have developed around the world, both in response to American thinking and independent of it.  This course examines a series of literary texts from around the globe that take up novel conceptions of environment and human interactions with it, alongside selected pieces of scholarship and theory that help situate these literary texts into a holistic sense of what a “global environment” means in the late twentieth-century.


Course Objectives:


  • Develop the vocabulary necessary to discuss the breadth of cultural positions across the planet and the ways in which cultures do not experience “the global environment” in the same ways.
  • Encounter texts from a range of cultural traditions, and discuss those texts in a collaborative, exploratory way
  • Explore lines of inquiry about the environment and the way it is represented and discussed in literary texts
  • Practice writing focused arguments about a specific question pertaining to representations of the environment in literature, using both primary and scholarly evidence to support a claim




Amitav Ghosh – The Hungry Tide

Heron Habila – Oil on Water

Indra Sinha – Animal’s People

Karen Tei Yamashita – Through the Arc of the Rainforest

Christa Wolf – Accident: A Day’s News