English | Speical Studies in English & American Literature
L780 | 14406 | Irmscher

L780  14406  IRMSCHER (#6)
Special Studies in English & American Literature

2:30p – 3:45p TR


Ecocriticism emphasizes issues of environmental interconnectedness,
sustainability, and justice in cultural interpretation.  It borrows
liberally from those and other interpretive modes to produce a
polymorphous set of possible strategies, which are not united by a
single method but orbit around issues of cultural-environmental
concern.  This course is conceived as a broad introduction to the
theory and practice of ecocritical work; we will not focus on any
specific period or national tradition.  The basic narrative of the
course will follow Lawrence Buell’s  The Future  of Environmental
Criticism (Blackwell), supplemented by essays from The ISLE Reader,
ed. Michael Branch and Scott Slovic (Georgia).   I will also ask
students to purchase the Library of America edition of John James
Audubon’s Writings and Drawings and Bill McKibben’s  American  Earth
(Library of America).  We will trace the stages of ecocriticism’s
development, map the shifting theoretical terrain inhabited by
ecocritics and their alliances with other disciplines, and attempt
to define the relationship of the movement with ecofeminism,
environmental justice, and science studies.    Theoretical Readings
will draw on the work on Michael Branch, Lawrence Buell, Cheryll
Glotfelty, Glen Love,  Jean-Luc Nancy, Louise Westling, and others.
Primary readings will be drawn from texts by John James Audubon,
Susan Fenimore Cooper, Barbara Gowdy, Joy Kogawa, Robert Lalonde,
John Muir, Shakespeare, H.D. Thoreau, and others.   Course
requirements:  I will ask students to develop their own ecocritical
course syllabus (for an undergraduate or graduate class) and present
it to the class.   In addition, students will write and revise one
longer critical paper (25-30 pages), based on original research,
which they will submit for publication in an academic journal.   I
also have tentative plans for an exhibit of environmental writing at
the Lilly Library on which the class would collaborate.