English 190

Research Seminar: Nineteenth Century American Ecologies


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
3 Fall 2022 Bondy, Katherine Isabel
MW 3:30-5 301 Wheeler

Book List

Douglass, Frederick: The Heroic Slave; Jewett, Sarah Orne: The Country of the Pointed Firs; Stoddard, Elizabeth: The Morgesons; Thaxter, Celia: Among the Shoals; Thoreau, Henry David: Walden; or, Life in the Woods

Other Readings and Media

Additional short readings will be made available via a course reader and/or on bCourses. See below.

Additional film/media (to be made available via a class screening or online): Daughters of the Dust (dir. Julie Dash)

Apart from the books listed above, shorter readings will include work by Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Emily Dickinson, Charles Chesnutt, and Zitkala-Sa, as well as critical essays and scholarship by Timothy Morton, Ursula K. Heise, Juliana Chow, Michelle Neely, Branka Arsić, Elise Lemire, Monique Allewaert, Sylviane A. Diouf, Dana Luciano, Robin Wall Kimmerer, and Ross Gay.

Description

What did “nature” mean in nineteenth-century America? How did writers, artists, and activists from the period represent and interact with the natural world around them? In this research seminar, we will approach these questions through the lens of what eco-critic Timothy Morton has termed “ecological thinking”: a recognition and thinking through of our interconnectness with the non-human environment. We will consider versions of “ecological thinking” from a diversity of nineteenth-century perspectives in order to test out its political, aesthetic, and ethical possibilities. Together, we will dig through the rich soil of nineteenth-century American ecological writing and ask what fruit it bears for thinking about the environmental crises of our contemporary moment.

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