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Consciousness of the world’s finiteness in a time of environmental degradation and headlong global capitalism prompts restraint, a harboring of resources. But beyond the economic logic of conservation and expenditure, might imagining the world from the vantage point of its limit provoke a more profound rethinking of ourselves and the things of the world? Does it change what it means to possess, or even what an experience of the world is? Does it change human relationship? This course explores these questions in part by reaching back to the early modern period, when the boundedness of nations and worlds first comes to view in a meaningful way. But the course will have a long arc, from Shakespeare to Sinha’s Animal’s People. Primary works will include: Shakespeare, As You Like It and King Lear; Marvell; Ovid, Metamorphosis; Browne, Urn Burial; Wordsworth; McCarthy, The Road; Atwood; Alice Oswald; photography (Struth, Hutte); painting (Titian), and video installations (Pipilotti Rist). Theoretical texts include: Smith, Against Ecological Sovereignty; Wood, Reoccupy Earth; Agamben, The Time that Remains; Heidegger, “Question Concerning Technology”; Latour, “An Inquiry into Modes of Existence”; Nancy, After Fukushima; Derrida, The animal that therefore I am and Beast and the Sovereign.
Format: seminar; This course will be taught virtually, but we will make absolutely every effort to ensure that it takes the form of a genuine discussion class, including breaking periodically into smaller online groups. Requirements: two papers totaling 20 pages.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
two papers over the course of the semester totaling approximately 20 pages.
English majors using the course to fulfill a requirement; Environmental Studies majors
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
ENGL Criticism Courses
ENGL Literary Histories A
ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives
PHIL Related Courses