Special Topics: Studies in Literature and Environment (Shelter and Weather)
Other Readings and Media
What makes environmental violence hard to represent and how can literature bear witness to the silence, slowness, and invisibility of ecological relations? Of what use is the problematic concept of “nature” in ordering our relations to other living beings? What kinds of literacy are required to have “a sense of place” or a knowledge of the seasons? Is such literacy comparable to the kind of attention that reading poetry often demands? This course will address these questions by examining the role of language and literature in making possible different kinds of interaction between people and environments. Other topics will include; relations between rural workers and landscape tourists; the role of memory and imagination in writing about place and the loss of place; weather-reporting and other ways of counting time; fantasies about ecological disaster and science’s ability to save or destroy humankind; figures of shelter and exposure.
Books (available at University Press Books, not the Cal Student Store): Mary Austin, Land of Little Rain; Matsuo Bashō, Narrow Road to the Deep North; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Ann Fisher-Worth and Laura-Gray Street, The Ecopoetry Anthology; Greg Sarris, Mabel McKay: Weaving the Dream; Mary Shelley, Frankenstein; Henry Thoreau, Walden; Dorothy Wordsworth, Grasmereand Alfoxden Journals
A reader with critical readings by Berger, Davis, Heidegger, Nixon, Solnit, Thompson, Vivieros de Castro, Galeano, Williams, & others
Films: Baichwal/Burtynsky, Manufactured Landscapes; Haynes, Safe; Herzog, Grizzly Man; Scott, Bladerunner; Varda, The Gleaners and I; ZhangKe Jia, Still Life
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