English 184 - Spring, 2021

Literature & the Environment

Class Information

Instructor: Hsu, Hsuan L.
CRN: 62143
Time: TR 12:10-1:30
GE Areas: Writing Experience


Literature and Environment: Writing Toxicity and Climate Change
This course will consider a range of literary, critical, and theoretical texts that explore human entanglements with the nonhuman environment. We will focus on two themes?toxicity and climate change?that highlight how literature can contribute to contesting and reimagining ideas concerning agency, corporeality, history, ethics, and politics in the Anthropocene. The course will emphasize the different ways in which narratives of toxicity and climate frame issues of race, gender, sexuality, class, and disability. Literary, theoretical, and critical readings?along with a few film screenings?will be organized around these topics: the Chemical Self, Toxic Colonialism, the Anthropocene, Climate Migration, and broader connections between Climate, Race, and Colonialism.

Learning objectives include improving understanding of human-environment interactions, critical thinking, equity issues, and literary analysis. This course fulfills the Writing Experience GE: it requires several essays with opportunity to improve your writing by incorporating instructor feedback.

This class will be conducted through a combination of synchronous 50-minute Zoom sessions (approx. 2 weekly) and asynchronous lessons.


attendance, participation, and in-class writing: 45%
short essays: 30%
final essay: 25%


Animal's People, Indra Sinha
The Road, Cormac McCarthy
Gun Island , Amitav Ghosh
Watershed, Percival Everett
Salt Fish Girl, Larissa Lai