Climate Change Literature
This course focuses on climate change literature, the most active and popular arena of contemporary environmental writing. Examining a variety of 20th and 21st century works—including science fiction, spoken word poetry, narrative fiction, and film—we will analyze how literature shapes and responds to planetary crisis. Which imaginative currents—apocalyptic, technocratic, communalist, militaristic—are molding readers’ visions of the climatic future? Is it possible to narrate climate change as a multi-century catastrophe rooted in colonialism and the acquisition of capital? What can we learn about climate change from literature that we can’t grasp through other fields of study? Since the works in this class cover a broad geographic range and include relatively unknown books as well as award-winning texts, we will also theorize how—and why—particular writers’ voices become central or peripheral within climate discourse.Authors may include Octavia Butler, Franny Choi, Cherie Dimaline, Amitav Ghosh, Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, and John Lanchester. As an inherently interdisciplinary course, both English concentrators and concentrators from other fields are welcome to enroll.
Class Notes:This course satisfies the “1900-2000 Guided Elective” requirement for English concentrators and Secondary Field students.