This interdisciplinary environmental humanities seminar begins with the premise that our present climate crisis is a political project of globalization propelled by capitalism and its cultural logic. Causes and consequences of climate change can only be understood by examining the historical trajectories of carbon-based economic, political, and cultural systems since the 19th century. We trace the intellectual genealogy of modern climate science, consider the politics of indigenous knowledge as related to extractivism, and examine literary and artistic engagements with the natural world. We pay particular attention to the narrative strategies that scientists and policymakers use to talk about climate, and we develop creative critiques of the dominant discourses. We use historical and cultural analysis to study social movement strategy and tactics among advocates for climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. We begin and end with creative responses to climate crisis, always asking: How can we move beyond dystopia and defeatism? How might history inform social movements for climate resilience? How can the arts, theater, and literary production articulate a new politics of survival? What narrative forms enable and inspire climate action?
Grading: no pass/fail option,
no fifth course option
one short creative writing assignment; several short critical papers (3-4 pages); final essay (10-15 pages)
ENVI 101 or instructor permission
ENVI or AMST majors or concentrators; people with demonstrated interest in the course topics
Difference, Power, and Equity
This course is cross-listed and the prefixes carry the following divisional credit:
This course considers the historical differences in economic, political, and cultural power which have shaped our present climate crisis. We consider both who drives environmental change and who experiences it first hand. We consider in particular how differences of class, race, and gender shape capacities for resilience and resistance and we examine social movement strategy, with particular attention to Indigenous and POC social movement thinkers and leaders.
AMST Critical and Cultural Theory Electives
ENVI Humanities, Arts + Social Science Electives