Ecology, Literature and Culture
(Ekológia, irodalom és kultúra) in spring 2019
, Fri 11:30–13:00
seminar, 30 h/term
description & set texts
The course intends to introduce students to ecological thinking in culture and literature. In the first half of the semester, we read and discuss foundational theoretical texts that map out the development of modern ecological thought, explore cultural discourses that affect our thinking about the biosphere, aesthetic codes, gendered “nature,” and the narrative of environmental pollution. In the second half we scrupulously read six American short stories to test our understanding of the ecocritical project, also experimenting with a new way of reading American narratives (classic and contemporary) with green and posthumanist agendas in mind. These sessions will be assisted with a set of downloadable questions in the Student Reader Guide.
Objectives of the course: to familiarize students with a variety of perspectives in ecological theories, environmentalism, and ecocriticism; to enlarge their vocabulary, oral and writing skills about green agendas; to enable them to read literary texts in an ecocritical perspective; to alert them to their responsibilities for the human and nonhuman environment as prospective intellectuals and critical thinkers at this time of ecological crisis.
SYLLABUS WITH THE READINGS AND THE PRESENTATION TOPICS
1. Orientation and Introduction
SAMPLING OF FOUNDATIONAL TEXTS IN ECOCRITICISM
2. Environmentalism and political theories
Robyn Eckersley, “The Development of Modern Ecopolitical Thought” (Environmentalism and Political Theory, UCL P, 1992), pp. 7-32; e-book), pdf
3. Public spaces and cultural codes
Kenneth R. Olwig, “Reinventing Common Nature: Yosemite and Mount Rushmore—A Meandering Tale of a Doube Nature” (Uncommon Ground, ed. William Cronon, Norton,1996); pdf
4. Nature and gender
Kate Soper, “The Idea of Nature” (The Green Studies Reader, ed. Laurence Coupe, Routledge 2000), pp. 123-126, pdf
Kate Soper , “Naturalized Woman and Feminized Nature”(The Green Studies Reader), pp. 139-143, pdf
Anette Kolodny, “Unearthing Herstory” (The Ecocriticism Reader, ed. Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm), pp. 170-181, pdf
5. Human and nonhuman animals: Posthumanism
Helena Feder, Ecocriticism, Posthumanism, and the Biological Idea of Culture (The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism, ed. Greg Garrard. Oxford Handbooks Online, pp. 1-12) pdf
6. Environmental Pollution: the “toxic discourse”)
Lawrence Buell, “Toxic Discourse” (Buell, Writing for an Endangered World, Belknap P, 2003), pp. 30-54, pdf
LITERARY EXPLORATIONS IN ECOCRITICAL PERSPECTIVES
7. NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE’S RAPPACCINI’S DAUGHTER, 1846
8. Spring Break
9. SARA ORNE JEWETT’S A WHITE HERON, 1886
10. KATE CHOPIN’S DESIRÉE’S BABY, 1893
11. ERNEST HEMINGWAY’S THE SNOWS OF KILIMANJARO, 1936)
12. PERCIVAL EVERETT’S DICOTYLES TAJACU,1996
13. OCTAVIA BUTLER’S BLOODCHILD, 1996
14. Write home essay (due on May 25): No class/Pázmány Day
15. Endterm quiz (based on all the readings of the semester; in-class, written)
Readings: as above, broken down to weeks. For the texts, see my Dropbox. Make sure you download the application Calibre for free to convert your EPUB texts.
Suggested Further Readings
Buell, Lawrence. Writing for an Endangered World. Literature, Culture, and the Environment. Harvard UP, 2009
Morton, Timothy. Ecology without Nature. Harvard UP, 2009.
Wolfe, Cary. What Is Posthumanism? St. Paul-Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2010.
requirements & assessment
- regular participation and activity in class discussions (only 3 absences allowed)
- individual oral presentation (15-20 mins, focusing on the main argument of the theoretical essay / or storyline and main issues / problems in the short stories; in both cases, the speaker is also required to frame 2 meaningful questions to the class to kick off the conversation; handouts for each participant of the class, giving a clear outline of the talk)
- endterm essay (see the requirements below; submission deadline to be announced later.
- endterm quiz.
Assessment: oral performance (class activity + oral pres.): 50% + endterm quiz (written) and paper: 50%
Readings: Eco-Reader uploaded in the professor's Dropbox
1) Length: 4 pp
2) Format: MLA, double spaced, works cited, footnotes
please check the Purdue University guide for using MLA at https://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/747/01/
3) Theme: elaboration of your oral presentation in a formal essay with bibliography; alternatively, you can pick one of the short stories from the class reading list and explore the text from an ecocritical perspective.
Use questions of the Student Reader Guide in the Dropbox to help your discussion evolve within the ecoctitical paradigm.
* use information, perspective, argument(s) from the theoretical essays you have read for the class
* choose an appropriate title and regard it as your guide while setting up your discussion
* make sure you write an argumentative essay with paragraphs that you indent
* when building your paragraphs think of them as mini-essays with transition, consisting of 1) a thesis sentence, 2) development, 3) conclusion;
* what follows from the above is that in an argumentative essay a paragraph is ususally longer than 3 sentences but must consist of min. 3 sentences
* note that this paper is also about your personal response to issues the seminar has been addressing in the semester; so – while trying to be academic – make sure you also voice your position about issues you choose to write about.