Brief Description of Course: An introduction to the field of the Environmental Humanities, this course explores how the stories we tell about the natural world work to construct our environmental imaginations. We will engage with novels, films, essays, poetry, and criticism, as well as physical experiences, material landscapes and objects in order to better understand how and why we enjoy, use and abuse the natural world. On the one hand, we will confront the hard facts about many of the stories we tell: that they have led us to the brink of environmental catastrophe. On the other hand, through interactive group presentations and creative projects, we will begin the exciting project of writing new stories, imagining a new and healthier relationship between humanity and the earth which sustains us.
Required Reading: Representative texts include the King James Bible; various creation myths; Shakespeare, As You Like It, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, Aldo Leopold, The Sand County Almanac, Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, Barry Lopez, The Rediscovery of North America, Robin Wall Kimmerer, Braiding Sweetgrass, Thomas King, The Truth About Stories, Michael Pollan, The Omnivore’s Dilemma; films such as Food, Inc. and Merchants of Doubt, and essays by critics such as Raymond Williams, Lynn White, Stacey Alaimo, Wendell Berry, Ursula Heise, Donna Haraway, Rob Nixon.
First Three Authors/Texts: King James Bible, The Truth About Stories, Braiding Sweetgrass.
Method of Evaluation: Presentation; class participation; two in-class tests.