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Contemporary American Literature: Environmental Justice

Study of contemporary American fiction, poetry, non-fiction, drama, and film, emphasizing recent formal and thematic trends. This course considers emerging directions in early twenty-first-century US literature and film and pressing questions about the future of “nature.” We will look especially at the problems of climate change and the ways in which various publics have responded to (or ignored) evidence that homo sapiens is currently hurting the odds of our long-term survival (not to mention thriving). Reaching beyond reactionary rhetoric and utilizing a basic primer on the science, we will see how American
fiction has begun to tell this story slant: via an epic science fiction novel about terraforming Mars, a National Book Award-winning tale about a Midwestern man who loses part of his memory, a gritty portrayal of an Appalachian woman’s exhaustion with her marriage, and several postapocalyptic tales that reflect on relationships between men and women, parents and children, and people and dogs.

Everett Hamner

PDF: Syllabus.ContempAmerLit.SP15.012215.pdf

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