English R1B

Reading and Composition: Literature and the Environment

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
7 Spring 2007 Nicole Asaro
MWF 3-4 204 Wheeler Hall

Other Readings and Media

"Literature and the Environment: A Reader on Nature and Culture, ed. Lorraine Anderson, Scott Slovic, and John P. O?Grady

An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore

A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold

Jokerman 8, Richard Melo

Rules for Writers, Diana Hacker, or The Everyday Writer, Andrea Lunsford

A course reader with critical essays, historical documents and literary works Several films"


"For many generations of authors, writing about the Earth and our human impact upon it has been an intriguing artistic challenge. In this course, we will explore the challenges of representing our natural environment and its human stewardship by considering an array of stories, essays, media commentary, films, and other materials. A primary goal will be to familiarize ourselves with a) the rhetorical devices used to fashion persuasive arguments, including ?spin?; b) current and historical narratives of how the world?s natural resources are endangered (or not) by human activity; and c) literary representations of the Earth and the possibility of its irrevocable decay. One of our primary inquiries will be, ?is the natural environment an artistic and cultural resource?and if so, what can literary representation do to preserve or renew it??

Our classroom will be both a writing workshop and a forum for discussing literature and environmental issues. No prior knowledge of environmental concepts is required. This class will expose you to a wide variety of literary styles, from naturalists? diaries to epic poetry, as well as pieces considered journalistic or scientific, rather than literary. In assessing the argumentative and narrative techniques of these materials, you will develop and hone your own researching, reading, and writing skills. Brief weekly writing assignments will help you digest and evaluate the required reading, and also give you the chance to select and comment upon some of the environmental news that pours in everyday. Finally, you will also write two argumentative essays of increasing length, projects for which you will research outside sources and develop a topic of personal interest. Your finished essays will emerge from a process we might think of as ?creative reuse??the process of extensive drafting, reviewing, and revising. "

Back to Semester List