Reading & Composition

Reading & Composition

On Literature and Environmental Change
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Laila Riazi
2-3:30 PM
211 Dwinelle Hall (moved to 4104 Dwinelle, 09/30/21)

How does environmental change change literature, and our contexts for reading, writing and interpreting it? What kinds of changes in the environment elude linguistic and literary expression because they are too minor or microscopic, too slow or processual? In this course, we’ll engage authors, activists, and critics whose practices attend to ecological relation and environmental loss. How do literary and cultural texts regard, articulate, and act upon the movements of an extra-human world? Through what inherited models do we understand “the environment”-- how might our readings revise these models? Approaching texts from within their cultural and historical contexts, we’ll develop a critical language for how literature works across environmental, aesthetic and ethical registers.

In addition to growing our skills as readers, a primary goal of this class will be to practice literary interpretation-- writing on and about literature. We’ll approach writing as a necessarily messy process that generates ideas. Emphasis will be on composing drafts and revising them, and on building our own writerly voices and methods of literary analysis. Note: This class fulfills Part A of UC Berkeley's Reading and Composition requirement. 

Readings/viewings may include:

The Spell of the Sensuous, David Abram

Silent Spring, Rachel Carson

Pterodactyl, Pirtha, and Puran Sahay, Mahasweta Devi

The Hungry Tide, Amitav Ghosh

Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer

How Beautiful We Were, Imbolo Mbue

Cities of Salt, Abdelrahman Munif

Palestine Blues, Nida Sinnokrot