This foundational course explores a wide array of ecocultural texts from Latin America, ranging from accounts of Europeans’ first arrival to the crisis of mass extinction and anthropogenic climate change today. In between we consider an eclectic mix of styles and genres, including poetry, essays, prose fiction and speeches produced by a varied group of cultural agents. We read classic texts by canonical figures (José Martí’s “Our América,” the Popol vuh), which take on new meaning in the current context, as well as some little-known gems of ecological consciousness. Readings and discussion trace connections between environmental thought and the region’s long and multi-layered history of colonialism, and students are encouraged to develop their own positions by responding to some of the leading theoretical discourses that animate the field of Latin American ecocriticism: decolonial and creole ecologies, ecofeminism, transcultural materialism, and postdevelopment. Conducted in English.
Format: seminar; This class will be fully remote. Students are expected to be active participants at all scheduled class meetings; there may be some additional asynchronous activities.
Grading: yes pass/fail option,
yes fifth course option
Students will write and revise three formal essays over the course of the semester. There will also be shorter written assignments and intermittent discussion-leading.
Preference given to students majoring in Spanish or Environmental Studies.
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course meets the goals of the DPE requirement in that it focalizes the current environmental crisis through the long history of political, economic and cultural struggles in Latin America. We examine the genealogies of environmental culture, tracing the emergence of ecofeminism, for example, through generations of writers. We also examine the phenomenon of creolization and its relationship to the environmental cultures of Latin America's originary peoples.
ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives