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Apocalyptic Fictions

ENGL 260.301
MW 3:30-5:30
fulfills requirements:
Sector 6: 20th Century Literature of the Standard Major
Elective Seminar of the Standard Major

This course explores the tropes and narratives of environmental collapse and disaster in American fictions from 1945 to the present. We will trace the developments and ruptures of contemporary environmental literature and compare the various experiments and limits of the genre in the context of cold war anxieties, climate change, rising sea levels, and environmental justice. How can speculative fiction contribute to our understanding of the developments in environmental studies and vice versa? What traces of nuclear rhetoric can we find in climate change fiction (cli-fi)? Together, we will close read a variety of short stories, novels, and film, which may include: W. E. B. Du Bois’s The Comet, Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower, Grapes of Wrath, Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, Soylent Green, Chang-Rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, and Paolo Tadini Bacigalupi’s The Wind Up Girl. Assignments will include weekly canvas posts, a short essay (2-4pp) and a final paper (6-8pp). No previous experience with environmental studies is necessary.