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Narrating Environment

ENGL 5840.401
Monday 5:15-8:14pm

What do theorists and historians of narrative have to contribute to the study of environments and of human/nonhuman relations? How might recent developments in environmental studies unsettle or reshape our models of plot, narratorial modes, narrative genres, suspense, protagonism, character, and character-space? And what are the limits of narrative in getting to grips with pressing environmental questions? This seminar explores the estuary where narrative and environment mix. Through primary and secondary readings we’ll consider environment as, variously, object and subject of narration, event, condition, and actant in plot. We’ll take up narrative’s provisions and limitations as a channel for environmental thinking and environmental justice. And we’ll pay special attention to the narrative elements of scholarship in the environmental humanities, tracing how the writers of article- and book-length studies in the field stage, pace, protagonize, and emplot their arguments. Advanced undergraduate students interested in this course should contact the instructor to request permission to enroll and submit a permit request via Path@Penn. Submatriculated M.A. students may enroll without special permission.

English Major Requirements
  • Literature Seminar pre-1900 (AEB9)
  • Sector 5 19th Century (AE19)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
  • Theory & Cultural Studies Concentration (AETC)
College Attributes
Additional Attributes