ENG20800 Global Eco-Literature

Academic Year 2024/2025

“So what are the legends/we tell ourselves today?” asks Marshallese poet Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner in her poem “Utilomar,” which opens with her nightmare of “the world flooded,” a tangible threat in the context of the Marshall Islands, which face inundation as a result of rising sea levels and global warming. This module will take up Jetnil-Kijiner’s call to explore the stories and legends we tell ourselves about climate and the future, examining contemporary representations of climate emergency and environmental crisis across a range of genres and geographies. Drawing on critical frameworks from the environmental humanities, postcolonial ecocriticism, energy humanities, petrocultures, resource criticism, ecopoetics, and popular cultural studies, the module will explore the capacity of different literary forms, such as speculative fiction, poetry, creative non-fiction, and the global novel, to represent climate change and the ‘slow violence’ of environmental crisis. We will compare texts by writers of different ethnicities from multiple regions, including British, North American, and postcolonial writing from the Global South.

Reading these texts, we will concentrate on certain key questions, such as how do literary texts represent the entanglement of race, class, or gender with climate crisis and explore the ways in which social and environmental justice are intertwined? What capacity do literary texts have to imagine alternative futures or relations to nature? How might these narratives help provide a framework for how we think about real-world environmental issues? How do imaginaries of environment and climate change vary across different regions and periods? How does literary production from outside of North American and Western Europe challenge Euro-American conceptions of ecology, resources, and climate adaptation? Examples of potential writers may include Kim Stanley Robinson, Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Duanwad Pimwana, Nnedi Okorafor, Joanna Kavenna, David Mitchell, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Tishani Doshi, Joy Harjo, Kathleen Jamie, and Yun Ko-eun.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will have acquired:

-Increased Familiarity with environmental humanities and postcolonial ecocritical approaches to world literature
-Deeper awareness of challenges around climate change and environmental crisis in the Global South
--Increased familiarity with a range of writing on nature, resources, climate and the environment from different cultural contexts and geographies
-Critical Ability to analyse the content and aesthetics of different forms (poetry, short fiction, novels, and essays) in light of ecocritical concerns

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours
Specified Learning Activities

43

Autonomous Student Learning

34

Lectures

12

Tutorial

11

Total

100

Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
Weekly lectures; small group teaching. 
Requirements, Exclusions and Recommendations

Not applicable to this module.


Module Requisites and Incompatibles
Not applicable to this module.
 
Assessment Strategy  
Description Timing Open Book Exam Component Scale Must Pass Component % of Final Grade

Not yet recorded.


Carry forward of passed components
Yes
 
Resit In Terminal Exam
Autumn No
Please see Student Jargon Buster for more information about remediation types and timing. 
Feedback Strategy/Strategies

• Feedback individually to students, post-assessment

How will my Feedback be Delivered?

Not yet recorded.

Name Role
Assoc Professor Sharae Deckard Lecturer / Co-Lecturer