English 184 - Spring, 2016

Literature & the Environment

Class Information

Instructor: Ziser, Michael
CRN: 63196
Time: TR 1:40-3:00
Location: 159 Olson


    ENL 184 will explore the connection between literature and the environment through immersion in a variety of cultural moments and media. From the 18th-century division of the environment into immediate material home and alienated aesthetic object, we will turn to memoirs, poems, polemics, and novels that stitch these two halves back together again by thinking deeply about embodied perception, physical labor, pollution, agriculture, conservation, animality, and other more-than-human subjects. Texts will range from classic Romantic poetry and Transcendentalist nonfiction (Wordsworth, Shelley, and Thoreau) to contemporary world novels (Ghosh and Sinha) with several stops in the 19th and 20th centuries along the way.

    In addition to the texts listed, there will be a substantial digital reader and the regular screening of environmental films that complement our weekly discussions. No screenings outside of regular class time required.


    Weekly Short Writing: 20%
    Short Paper: 25%
    Longer Paper: 35%
    Final Exam: 20%


    Walden, Henry David Thoreau
    My Year of Meats, Ruth Ozeki
    The White Bone, Barbara Gowdy
    Animal's People, Indra Sinha
    The Hungry Tide, Amitav Ghosh