ENG32310 Climate and Environment in Global Literature

Academic Year 2022/2023

“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 very real threat in the context of the Marshall Islands, which face inundation as a result of rising sea levels and global warming. This lecture-only module will take up Jetnil-Kijiner’s call to explore the stories and legends we tell ourselves about climate change and the future, examining representations of climate and environmental crisis across a range of periods, 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 include Ben Lerner, Kim Stanley Robinson, Pitchaya Sudbanthad, Nnedi Okorafor, Alexis Wright, Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, Tishani Doshi, Joy Harjo, and Kathleen Jamie.

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Curricular information is subject to change

Learning Outcomes:

On completion of this module students will have acquired:
-Critical ability to analyse key theoretical debates and apply theoretical concepts and frameworks related to the module
-Ability to engage with a range of material across the module’s texts, themes and periods
-Familiarity with environmental humanities and ecocritical approaches to literature
-Deeper awareness of the representational challenges around climate change and environmental issues
-Ability to evaluate the form and content of texts in light of ecocritical concerns
-Increased familiarity with a range of writing on nature, resources, climate and the environment

Student Effort Hours: 
Student Effort Type Hours


Specified Learning Activities


Autonomous Student Learning




Approaches to Teaching and Learning:
This is a lecture-based module. Primary content delivery is via lectures, with limited group discussion. 
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
Continuous Assessment: Portfolio of worksheets. Throughout the Trimester n/a Graded No


Examination: End of term 'open book' exam, questions will be 'seen' in advance and an exam review session will be provided. Coursework (End of Trimester) Yes Graded No


Carry forward of passed components
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
Dr Ailise Bulfin Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Lucy Collins Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Treasa De Loughry Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Assoc Professor Sharae Deckard Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Dr Harriet Hulme Lecturer / Co-Lecturer
Timetabling information is displayed only for guidance purposes, relates to the current Academic Year only and is subject to change.
Seminar Offering 1 Week(s) - 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 Tues 12:00 - 13:50