AFR 313
Tropical Ecologies: Francophone Caribbean Literature and the Environment Spring 2021
Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Cross-listed AFR 313 / RLFR 313 / ENVI 311
This is not the current course catalog

Class Details

The lushness of the mangroves, the flora and fauna of tropical landscapes, the intricacy of the rhizome, the flow of great rivers, the crashing waves of the Atlantic, the heights of mountainous lands, and expanse of the plateau–the natural world is an important site of Caribbean art in general and, more specifically, the francophone Caribbean novel of the 20th and 21st centuries. Applying eco-criticism to the field of francophone Caribbean literature, the goal of this class is to examine the ways that fiction explores the relationship between human activity and the environment. How does the novel inhabit Caribbean ecologies and topographies? How does it represent nature? In what ways do Caribbean texts meditate on nature and culture together or against one another? As the earthquake in Haiti demonstrated in 2010 with calamitous force, and the cycles of Caribbean hurricanes have shown over the years, natural disaster is also a political crisis. In view of this, we will also consider the legacies of slavery and colonialism in terms of class, gender and race politics. This investigation of the dynamics of natural and cultural phenomena will also have a theoretical frame rooted in critical texts of Caribbean of literary and political movements such as Indigenisme, Négritude, and Créolité. Conducted in French.
The Class: Format: seminar; This will be a remote course available to all students, whether they are on campus or completing coursework 100% remotely. We will convene synchronously via Zoom multiple times per week, with an emphasis on discussion and small group work. Students are also required to attend a monthly colloquium featuring renowned Caribbean scholars and participate in online activities both during and in-between our synchronous sessions.
Limit: 12
Expected: 12
Class#: 5694
Grading: yes pass/fail option, no fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Students will be required to submit four 2-page position papers that incorporate critical readings with analysis of the books being read in their entirety; each student will also be responsible for making a twenty-five minute oral presentation on a critical/theoretical area related to class readings and discussion; the semester will conclude with a 6-8 page research paper to include footnotes and a bibliography. Attendance is mandatory and active, and informed class participation is required of all students. In addition, students are asked to come up with discussion questions three times throughout the semester.
Prerequisites: Successful performance in RLFR 105 or 106; or a previous RLFR 200-level or 300-level course; or by placement test; or permission of the instructor.
Enrollment Preferences: All are welcome, but if over-enrolled, preference will be given to French majors and certificate students; and those with compelling justification for admission.
Distributions: Division II Difference, Power, and Equity
Notes: This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
AFR 313 Division I RLFR 313 Division I ENVI 311 Division I
DPE Notes: As the course description show, this course critically examines difference, power, and equity in the Francophone Caribbean. The content focuses on race and ethnicity, slavery and colonialism, ecology and environmental disaster, and their effects on Caribbean histories, peoples, and cultures. The course teaches students how to critically investigate racial, cultural, and environmental in/justice(s), through texts, films, discussion, debate, and writing.

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