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EN9B5 World Literature in the Anthropocene

Organizing in the Anthropocene | Climate, People & Organizations


Dr Myka Tucker-Abramson (m dot abramson at warwick dot ac dot uk) and Dr. Mike Niblett (m dot niblett at warwick dot ac dot uk)
Office hours:

Module aims: The principal aim of the module is to investigate the implications of the concept of the Anthropocene for literary-cultural studies on a world scale. Participants will read initially in the history of debates surrounding this term – denoting the advent of a geological era in which human action acquires decisive planetary force – as a way of revisiting conventional interpretive frameworks and categories, including questions of periodisation, comparative methodology and the ‘worlding’ of literary study. We will then take up a series of optics prompted by the Anthropocene and its counter-concepts (Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Growthocene et al.) to further explore the challenges of reading ecological crisis and culture in an era when it is no longer feasible to disarticulate human from so-called natural history. Texts range from literary works to field-specific criticism to theoretical writings, with an emphasis on the latter.

2023-24 syllabus (subject to minor adjustments)

Week 1: World literature after the end of nature

Simon L. Lewis and Mark A. Maslin, “Defining the Anthropocene,” Nature 519 (12 March 2015): 171-180
Jeremy Davies, “Introduction” and “Chapter 2: Versions of the Anthropocene," The Birth of the Anthropocene (University of California Press, 2016): 1-14, 41-68
Christophe Bonneuil and Jean-Baptiste Fressoz, "Welcome to the Anthropocene," The Shock of the Anthropocene (Verso, 2016): 16-28
Muriel Rukeyser, The Book of the DeadLink opens in a new window,The Collected Poems of Muriel Rukeyser, eds. Kaufman and Herzog (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2006 [1938])

Week 2: Contesting the Anthropocene

Andreas Malm, “The Anthropocene Myth,” Jacobin (2015):
Jason W. Moore, “The Capitalocene, Part I: On the Nature and Origins of our Ecological Crisis,” Journal of Peasant Studies 44:3 (2017): 594-630
Françoise Vergès, “Racial Capitalocene,Futures of Black Radicalism, ed. Gaye Theresa Johnson and Alex Lubin (Verso, 2017)
Mariana Enríquez “Under the Black WaterLink opens in a new window,” Things We Lost in the Fire, trans. Megan McDowell (Granta, 2017)
China Miéville “CovehitheLink opens in a new window,” Three Moments of an Explosion: Stories (Picador, 2015)

Week 3: Settler Colonialism and the Anthropocene

Heather Davis and Zoe Todd, “On the Importance of a Date, or Decolonizing the Anthropocene,ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 16.4 (2017): 761-780
Ruba Salih and Olaf Corry, "Displacing the Anthropocene: Colonisation, extinction and the unruliness of nature in PalestineLink opens in a new window," Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space, 5.1 (2022), 381-400.
Liat Berdugo "A Situation: A Tree in PalestineLink opens in a new window," Places (January 2020)
A. B. Yehoshua "Facing the ForestsLink opens in a new window" (‘Mool Hayearot’), trans. Miriam Arad, Jewish Quarterly, 18.1 (1970), 28-43.
Mahmoud Darwish - Selected PoemsLink opens in a new window

Week 4: Energy

Andreas Malm, “The Origins of Fossil Capital: From Water to Steam in the British Cotton Industry,” Historical Materialism 21.1 (2013): 15–68
Patricia Yaeger, “Literature in the Age of Wood, Tallow, Coal, Whale Oil, Gasoline, Atomic Power and Other Energy Resources,” PMLA 126.2 (March 2011): 305-310
Larry Lohmann, “White Climate, White Energy: A Time for Movement Reflection?”
Tony Harrison, VLink opens in a new window” Selected Poems (Penguin, 1984) and see his film-poem PrometheusLink opens in a new window (1998)
David Thomas, “The Canary in the Coal Mine: Tony Harrison and the Poetics of Coal, Climate, and Capital,” Textual Practice (2015): 1-18

Week 5: Sacrifice Zones in the Energy Crisis

Leslie Marmon-Silko CeremonyLink opens in a new window (Penguin Books, 2020 [1977])
Ward Churchill and Winona LeDuke, “Native America: The Political Economy of Radioactive ColonialismLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window,” Insurgent Sociologist, 13.3, 1986, 51-78
Simon Ortiz,Our Homeland, A National Sacrifice AreaLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window, and "Starting at the BottomLink opens in a new window" Woven Stone, University of Arizona Press, 1992, pp. 337-365.

Week 6:
Resource Wars

Koli Jean Bofane Congo Inc: Bismark's TestamentLink opens in a new window, Trans. Marjolijn de Jaeger (Indiana University Press, 2018).
Guy Debord. 'Separation PerfectedLink opens in a new windowLink opens in a new window' Society of the Spectacle. Translated by Black & Red, (Radical America, 1970 [1967]), Paragraphs 1-35.
Vijay Prashad, “Africa is on the MoveLink opens in a new window.” Monthly Review 74.1 (2022): 49-57.

Week 7: Extractive Imperialism

Nalo Hopkinson, "PreciousLink opens in a new window" in Skin Folk (Open Road Media, 2001)
Mercedes Eng, "AutocartographyLink opens in a new window" in Mercenary English (Talon Books, 2016), pp.76-114.
Verónica Gago, "Violence: Is There a War on and against Women's BodiesLink opens in a new window" in Feminist International (Duke University Press, 2020)

Week 8: Tracking Toxicity in the Neoextractive Economy

Samantha Schweblin Fever Dream, Trans. Megan McDowell (Oneworld Publications, 2017).
Patricia Stuelke "Horror and the Arts of Feminist AssemblyLink opens in a new window" Post45, April 4 2019.
Amalia Leguizamón, "IntroductionLink opens in a new window," Seeds of power: Environmental injustice and genetically modified soybeans in Argentina. Duke University Press, 2020.
Verónica Gago, "Body-Territory: The Body as BattlefieldLink opens in a new window" in Feminist International (2020)

Week 9: Oceanic Space and the Ecocidal Life of Logistics
Emily St. John Mandel Station ElevenLink opens in a new window (Picador, 2014).
Martín Arboleda "EMPIRE: Resource Imperialism After the WestLink opens in a new window" Planetary Mine: Territories of Extraction under Late Capitalism (Verso, 2020), 35-74.
Allan Sekula and Noel Burch, “The Forgotten Space: Notes for a Film,” New Left Review 69 (May-June 2011): 78-79
Deborah Cowan, "The Revolution in Logistics: America's Last Dark ContinentLink opens in a new window,” The Deadline Life of Logistics: Mapping Violence in Global Trade (University of Minnesota Press, 2014): 23-52.
Liam Campling and Alejandro Colas, "Introduction: A Terraqueus PredicamentLink opens in a new window" Capitalism and the Sea: The Maritime Factor in the Making of the Modern World (Verso Books, 2021): 1-25.

Week 10: From the Neoliberal to the Neoextractive University
Radical Walking Tour of Campus
EP Thompson "The Business University," Warwick University Ltd.: Industry, Management and the UniversitiesLink opens in a new window (Penguin, 1970): 13-41.
Press Release, "Warwick University will help Bolivia become the 'energy cell of the world'" WMG, 2023.
Youssef Al Bouchi & Brett R. Caraway, "The Political Ecology of Bolivia’s State-Led Lithium Industrialization for Post-Carbon FuturesLink opens in a new window," Capitalism Nature Socialism (2023), 1-19. DOI: 10.1080/10455752.2023.2197245
David Thoms and Tom Donnelly, "The Coventry Motor Car Industry: Parameters and SignificanceLink opens in a new window
," The Coventry Motor Industry (Taylor & Francis, 2000).