Through selective study of the Bible, the Koran, Shakespeare, the Romantic poets, American transcendentalists, indigenous authors, contemporary eco-writers, and Integral Ecologists, we explore how humans have described and interacted with nature over the years in different parts of the world. How and why does literature imagine nature? This course does NOT focus on the narrative structure of long novels like my Major Twentieth Century Writers course but rather the aesthetics of language, the descriptions of nature, and the explicit and implicit claims embedded in the matrix of literary art. We compare poetic with literary non-fiction scientific writing on the environment, as we speculate on what ecoliterature teaches us about our planet now, in the past, and hopefully in the future.
1) To improve reading and writing skills, focusing on literary analysis and eco-journalism and/or nature poetry.
2) To improve oral communication through two oral presentations.
3) To learn about the rich tradition of writing about the environment through all perspectives from the religious and dramatic to the poetic, journalistic, and scientific.
4) To discuss the web of intersections between the art of literature and the science of the environment
5) To host NYU bookstore readings with Green authors
1)Attendance and participation at weekly on site classes Wednesday evenings are required. This includes a Retrospective for Barbara Kingsolver February 26 at NYU bookstore in collaboration with Literary Club and Greening Committee and another Green Authors event April 2 at the bookstore.
2)Bring one short close textual analysis focusing on language to class every week.
3) Each student will prepare and present two oral presentations on topics of their choice related to course themes.
4) Write in your eco-journal every week. This can include creative writing or eco-journalism depending on your major and interests.
5) Final paper is a synthesis of at least 6 CTs of literary analysis threaded together with entries from your eco-journal and your notes from your oral presentations.
Course Prerequisites: Course is open to all majors from all divisions who have completed the writing sequence.
Use any edition--cheap, used, Dover, and/or Kindle
The Tempest by Shakespeare
Romantic Poets Dover edition
Norton Book of Nature Writing
Ecopoetry Anthology: Trinity University Press
Birds, Beasts, and Seas by NP (J.Yang editor)
Surfacing by Margaret Atwood
Turquoise Ledge and Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko
Flight Behavior, The Poisonwood Bible, (required) and Last Stand: America's Virgin Lands, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, The Lacuna, Holding the Line(optional)by Barbara Kingsolver
The Spell of the Sensuous by David Abram
Esbjörn-Hargens, S. & Zimmerman, M. E. Integral Ecology: Uniting Multiple Perspectives on the Natural World (Random House/Integral Books, 2008),}
Professor Keefer's selections of poetry and short prose in booklet
Short CTs due every week on poems or poetic prose related to themes.
January 29: Introduction to Ecoliterature, Nature poetry, and Integral Ecology. Paradigms of perspectives. Read IE textbook, poetry, and essays for next week.
February 5: Bible and Koran on nature.
February 12: Spell of Sensuous versus Integral Ecology.
February 19: Flight Behavior and/or Poisonwood Bible. Overview of her work. Students can do oral presentations of optional Kingsolver books. Prepare for
February 26: Barbara Kingsolver Retrospective at NYU bookstore
March 5: Turquoise Ledge and memoir.
March 12: The Tempest. Read play for class when we will see film.
March 19: Spring Break.
March 26: Surfacing by Atwood or Ceremony by Silko.
April 2: Green authors at NYU bookstore. Leslie Marmon Silko.
N.B. During second part of semester, at least one class will be held outside in a park communing with nature.
April 9: Topics in ecophilosophy and ecoliterature with selected readings from anthologies.
April 16: Topics in ecophilosophy and ecoliterature with selected readings from anthologies.
April 23: Retrospective of Atwood at bookstore?
April 30: Topics in ecophilosophy and ecoliterature with selected readings from anthologies.
May 7: Oral presentation of Final papers, combination of at least 6 CTs threaded with entries from eco-journals and notes from oral presentations.
May 14: Final papers published in EvergreenEnergy Journal.
Plagiarism is illegal and unethical. Besides it is more fun to write your own eco-journals, analyze the poems to improve your critical skills, and express your own opinions about the course themes through oral presentations.