What is the role of the imagination—and specifically literature and film--in protecting biological diversity, minimizing human health risks, and using resources sustainably? Can the environmental humanities move us towards something that environmental ethicists and scientists have called “humane sustainable culture,” or culture in which nature-protection is worked out in conjunction with efforts to improve the well-being of billions of humans around the world?
This is a course in critical theory. The focus of this class is on ecocriticism, an emerging field in literary and cultural studies. It explores the development of the field from postmodernism to critical environmental justice theory. We’ll contextualize our discussion by looking back to the abolition movement and forward to the Earth Charter and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.