English R1B

Reading and Composition: The Literature of Climate Change

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
2 Summer 2019 Barbour, Andrew John
TuWTh 9:30-12 305 Wheeler

Book List

Ghosh, Amitav: The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable; Liu , Cixin: The Wandering Earth; Muslim, Kristine Ong: The Age of Blight: Stories; Robinson, Kim Stanley: New York 2140; Wagner, Phoebe and Bronte Christopher Wieland, eds.: Sunvault: Stories of Solarpunk and Eco-Speculation


This course explores literary, scientific, and postcolonial perspectives on ecological crisis on a global scale from early-19th-century ecological writing to contemporary climate fiction. Tracing the emergence of a planetary ecological consciousness, we will investigate how literature and science grapple with the global implications of climate change. What formal and figurative resources can climate fiction and contemporary earth sciences afford on ecological catastrophe? To what extent does climate change render the figure of the globe visible and compel thinking on a planetary scale? How is climate change experienced differently around the globe, and its effects unevenly distributed across across periphery and metropole? We'll consider whether literature is capable of critically intervening in the problems and questions surrounding climate change in a form distinct from scientific and technological means, and how the literature of climate change might afford its own mode of purchase on questions of scale, ecology, deep time, and empire that augments or extends scientific forms of inquiry. Along the way, we'll pay particular attention to the postcolonial, transnational literature of climate change, and trace the conjoined histories of climate and empire. Readings include Amitav Ghosh, Kristine Ong Muslim, Cixin Liu, and Kim Stanley Robinson, along with critical readings spanning Anthropocene studies and contemporary climate science. Over the course of the term, you'll compose several papers of increasing length culminating in a final research paper designed to develop your ability to conduct your own innovative writing and research.

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