COMP 263 Fall 2014 Colonial Landscapes: Latin America's Contemporary Environmental Literature (D) (W)

Cross Listed as RLSP223, ENVI223
"It is not by coincidence that our societies are both racist and anti-ecological," wrote the Chilean sociologist Fernando Mires in his now-classic study, The Discourse of Nature. This tutorial explores works of contemporary literature that implicitly and explicitly link Latin America's ongoing environmental crisis to the region's long and multi-layered history of colonialism: novels by Sylvia Iparraguirre (Argentina), Mayra Montero (Puerto Rico), Giaconda Belli (Nicaragua), Luis SepĂșlveda (Chile); poetry by Homero Aridjis (MĂ©xico); essays by Octavio Paz (Mexico), Eduardo Viveiros de Castro (Brazil), and more. Representing a wide variety of geographies, literary styles and ideological perspectives, these writers nevertheless converge in challenging us to consider the effects of environmental crisis within structures of power that are radically unequal at the local, national, and global levels; and to recognize that consciousness of environmental vulnerability can prompt new forms of inclusion and community as well as exclusion. Topics to be explored also include the role of indigenous cosmologies in contemporary environmental politics, the place of urban ecologies within the environmental imaginary, and the ongoing debates among academic critics and others regarding the scope and methodologies of ecocriticism as an approach to Latin American literature. Students have the option of tutorial in Spanish or in English; partners will be assigned accordingly. Each tutorial pair will meet with me for one hour during the week, during which time we will discuss a 5-page paper that one of the partners has submitted the night before. This adds up to a substantial amount of (reading and) writing for each student in the course, i.e., six 5-page essays over the course of the semester. This tutorial meets the goals of the Exploring Diversity Initiative by challenging students to position themselves, intellectually and imaginatively, in the space of those excluded from modernity's material benefits as they struggle to brace themselves against its catastrophic environmental effects.
Class Format: tutorial
Requirements/Evaluation: each tutorial pair will meet with me for one hour during the week, during which time we will discuss a 5-page paper that one of the partners has submitted the night before
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: students majoring in Spanish or Environmental Studies
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Exploring Diversity, Writing Intensive
Other Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives
Enrollment Limit: 10
Expected Enrollment: 10
Class Number: 1778
CLASSES ATTR INSTRUCTORS TIMES CLASS NUMBER
COMP 263 - T1 (F) TUT Environmental Lit of Lat Am (D) (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsExploring Diversity InitiativeWriting Intensive Jennifer L. French
TBA 1778
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