COMP 239
Introduction to Ecocriticism: North-South Dialogues on Nature and Culture
Last Offered Fall 2010
Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Cross-listed COMP 239 / ENVI 239
This course is not offered in the current catalog or this is a previous listing for a current course.

Class Details

This course will introduce students to the study of the relationship between literature and the environment, often referred to as ‘ecocriticism,’ through careful examination of Jean de Léry’s 1577 History of a Voyage to the Land of Brazil and related texts. Léry’s fascinating account of a yearlong stay among the ‘cannibals’ of Brazil gets at many of the themes and debates taken up by ecocritics today: How do political, economic, religious and philosophical factors influence individual and collective conceptions of ‘nature’ and its value? How do acts of reading and writing inform (or deform) our understanding of the ‘natural’ world? What is the role of aesthetics in environmental politics, and how can unspoken assumptions about race, gender, and cultural difference influence representations of global environmental issues like deforestation and global warming? Envi 239/Comp 238 fulfills the goals of the Exploring Diversity Initiative by contextualizing current questions of international environmental policy within the long history of colonialism, challenging students to think about cultural diversity as well as economic inequality as relevant to contemporary debates about the value and distribution of natural resources. In addition to Léry’s History, we will also read landmarks of ecocritical theory by scholars including Lawrence Buell, William Cronon, Candace Slater and Jorge Marcone, as well as more recent literary interventions into environmental issues in the Americas.
The Class: Format: lecture/discussion
Limit: 20
Expected: 15
Class#: 1619
Grading: yes pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: three 5- to 7-page essays and several shorter writing assignments
Prerequisites: none;
Enrollment Preferences: majors in Environmental Policy, Environmental Science and Comparative Literature majors, Environmental Studies concentrators; other students interested are welcome
Unit Notes: satisfies the "Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences" requirement for the Environmental Studies concentration and theory/methods requirement for the "Society & Culture" track of the Environmental Policy major
Distributions: Division I Exploring Diversity Initiative
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
COMP 239 Division I ENVI 239 Division I
Attributes: ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives
ENVP SC Theory/Method Courses
LATS Countries of Origin + Transnationalism Elect

Class Grid

Updated 6:55 am

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