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Syllabus 2014-15

Term 1

Week 1: Introduction

Ursula Heise, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Ecocriticism,” PMLA 121.2 (2006): 503-16 [pdf]
Jason W. Moore, “Wall Street is a Way of Organizing Nature,” Upping the Anti: A journal of Theory and Action 12 (May 2012): 39-53 [pdf]

Week 2: The End of Nature: Literature in the Age of the Capitalocene

Bill McKibben, “The End of Nature,” The End of Nature (Doubleday): 47-91 [handout]
Alan Weisman, “Preface: A Monkey Koan” and “Unbuilding Our Home,” The World Without Us (St Martins): 1-5, 15-20 [handout]
Kate Soper, “Unnatural Times? The Social Imaginary and the Future of Nature,” The Sociological Review: Nature, Society and Environmental Crisis,
ed. Bob Carter and Nickie Charles (Wiley-Blackwell 2010): 222-235 [pdf]
Dipesh Chakrabarty, “The Climate of History: Four Theses,” Critical Inquiry 35 (Winter 2009): 197-222 [pdf]
Jason W. Moore, “The Capitalocene, Part I: On the Nature and Origins of Our Ecological Crisis” ( [pdf]

Week 3: Enclosure/Escape/Scape

John Clare, “Journey Out of Essex” and “Poems Written in Epping Forest and Northampton Asylum” from Major Works of John Clare (Oxford World’s Classics)*
Raymond Williams, “The Green Language” from The Country and the City (Chatto and Windus) [pdf]
Ian Sinclair, from Edge of the Orison: In the Traces of John Clare’s ‘Journey Out of Essex’ (Penguin) [handout]

Week 4: Eco-praxis I

Henry D. Thoreau, “Walking” [online]; A Year in Thoreau’s Journal: 1851 (Penguin)*
Lawrence Buell, from The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau, Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture (Harvard UP) [handout]
Dana Phillips, "Ecocriticism, Literature, and the Truth of Ecology," New Literary History 30.3 (Summer 1999): 577-602 [pdf]
Richard B. Primak, from Walden Warming: Climate Change Comes to Walden Woods (Chicago UP) [handout]

Week 5: Colonial World-Ecology

Olive Schreiner, The Story of an African Farm (Dover Thrift)*
Anne McClintock, from Imperial Leather: Race, Gender, and Sexuality in the Colonial Contest (Routledge) [handout]

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7: American Environmentalism

Aldo Leopold, A Sand County Almanac (Oxford)*
William Cronon, “The Trouble with Wilderness; or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature,” Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature (Norton) [pdf]
Ramachandra Guha, “Radical American Environmentalism and Wilderness Preservation: A Third World Critique,” Environmental Ethics 11 (1989): 71-84 [handout]

Week 8: The Carson Watershed

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (Penguin Modern Classics)*
John J. Audubon, from Birds of America [online]
John Clare, “Bird Poems” and related writings from Major Works (Oxford World’s Classics)

Week 9: Narrating the Capitalocene I

Richard Powers, Gain (Picador)*
Sandra Steingraber, from Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks at Cancer and the Environment (Da Capo) [handout]

Week 10: Trash

Charles Burns, Black Hole (Jonathan Cape)*
Brenda Hillman, “Styrofoam Cup” [handout]

Term 2

Week 1: Eco-praxis II

Naomi Klein, This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate (Allen Lane) [pdf]
Eileen Crist, “Beyond the Climate Crisis: A Critique of Climate Change Discourse,” Telos 4 (Winter 2007): 29–55 [pdf]
Mike Davis, “Who Will Build the Ark?” New Left Review 61 (Jan-Feb 2010): 29-46 [pdf]

Week 2: Environmental Language

Lisa Robertson, The Weather (New Star) and “Manifesto for a Soft Architecture” (Coach House) [handout]
Dorothy Wordsworth, from The Grasmere and Alfoxden Journals (Oxford) [handout]
Kenneth Goldsmith, "Spring," from The Weather (Make Now) [pdf]
Timothy Morton, “The Art of Environmental Language” from Ecology without Nature: Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics (Harvard UP) [pdf]

Week 3: Colonial/Postcolonial World-Ecology

Aimé Césaire, Notebook of the Return to the Native Land, trans. Clayton Eshleman and Annette Smith (Wesleyan UP) [pdf]
Edouard Glissant, from Caribbean Discourse: Selected Essays, trans. J. Michael Dash (U of Virginia P) [handout]
Kamau Brathwaite, from History of the Voice: Development of Nation Language in Anglophone Caribbean Poetry (New Beacon) [handout]
Michael Niblett, “World-Economy, World-Ecology, World Literature,” Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism 16 (Summer 2012): 15-30 [pdf]

Week 4: Case Study: Deepwater Horizon

Pablo Neruda, “Great Ocean,” from Canto General, trans. Jack Schmitt [handout]
Jonathan Skinner, “Offshore” and “Auger,” from Interim Vol. 29: The Eco Issue [handout]
Sheryl St. Germain, “Midnight Oil” [handout]
Ben Lerner, “Plume,” The Claudius App (
Imre Szeman, “System Failure: Oil, Futurity, and the Anticipation of Disaster,” South Atlantic Quarterly 106.4 (Fall 2007): 805-823 [pdf]
Michael Watts, “A Tale of Two Gulfs: Life, Death, and Dispossession along Two Oil Frontiers,” American Quarterly 64.3 (September 2012): 437-467 [pdf]
Stephanie LeMenager, “Petro-Melancholia: The BP Blowout and the Arts of Grief” Qui Parle 19.2 (Spring/Summer 2011) [pdf]

Week 5: Postcolonial World-Ecology

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things (Harper Perennial)*
Pablo Mukherjee, from Postcolonial Environments: Nature, Culture and the Contemporary Indian Novel in English [handout]
Rob Nixon, from Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor (Harvard UP) [pdf]

Week 6: Reading week

Week 7: Narrating the Capitalocene II: To the Sonoran Desert

Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Picador)*: Parts 1-3
Pascale Casanova, “Literature as a World,” New Left Review 31 (Jan-Feb 2005): 71-90
Charles Bowden, from Blue Desert (U of Arizona P)

Week 8: Narrating the Capitalocene II: 'An Oasis of Horror'

Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Picador)*: Parts 4-5
Sergio González Rodríguez, from The Femicide Machine (Semiotext(e))
Deborah Weissman, “The Political Economy of Violence: Toward an Understanding of the Gender-Based Murders of Ciudad Juarez,” North Carolina Journal
of International Law and Commercial Regulation (Summer 2005): 795-868
Sharae Deckard, “Peripheral Realism, Millennial Capitalism, and Roberto Bolaño’s 2666,” Modern Language Quarterly 73:3 (September 2012): 351-372

Week 9: Eco-praxis III

W. G. Sebald, The Rings of Saturn, trans. Michael Hulse (Vintage)*
Richard Long dossier [handout]
Patrick Keiller, Robinson in Ruins (film) or Grant Gee, Patience: After Sebald (film)

Week 10: Rewilding

George Monbiot, Feral: Searching for Enchantment on the Frontiers of Rewilding (Penguin)*