Syllabus and texts

“Philosophers have hitherto only interpreted the world in various ways. The point is to change it.”

(Karl Marx, Theses on Feuerbach, 1845)

“The almost insoluble task is to let neither the power of others, nor our own powerlessness, stupefy us.”

(Theodor Adorno, Minima Moralia, 1951)

“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.”

(Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, 1958)

“To use the world well, to be able to stop wasting it and our time in it, we need to relearn our being in it.”

(Ursula K. Le Guin, “Deep in Admiration,” 2017)

1. Introduction to the course: Fear & love in the Anthropocene

“People are most able to change their ways when they find two things in nature: something to fear… and also something to love.” (Jedediah Purdy, After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene, 2015)

2. Trees

Richard Powers, “Roots,” “Nicholas Hoel,” “Mimi Ma,” “Adam Appich,” “Douglas Pavlicek,” “Neelay Mehta” & “Patricia Westerford,” The Overstory, 2018, pp. 1-69 & 80-148.

3. Climate breakdown

David Wallace-Wells, “Part I: Cascades,” The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, 2019, pp. 8-37.

Peter Kalmus, “Chapter 5: Growth Always Ends,” Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution, 2017, pp. 77-108.

Cascading Systematic Risks,” Climate Change Risk Assessment 2021 Quiggin, et al.), Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs, 2021.

First Reformed, dir. Paul Schrader, 2017.

4. Mass extinction

W.S. Merwin, “The Last One,” “The Wave,” “The River of Bees,” “A Scale in May,” “The Mourner,” “The Asians Dying,” “For a Coming Extinction,” The Lice, 1967.

Ashley Dawson, Extinction: A Radical History, 2016.

Ripple WJ, Wolf C, Newsome TM, Galetti M, Alamgir M, Crist E, Mahmoud MI, Laurance WF (13 November 2017). “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice”BioScience. 67 (12): 1026–1028.

UN Sustainable Development, “Nature’s Decline Unprecendented,” 2019.

5. Ecofeminism

Ursula K Le Guin, “The Author of the Acacia Seeds. And Other Extracts from the Journal of the Association of Therolinguistics” & “Sur,” The Compass Rose, 1974, pp. 6-15 & 234-50.

Val Plumwood, “Feminism and Ecofeminism,” Feminism and the Mastery of Nature, 1993, pp. 19-41.

Carolyn Merchant, “Dominion Over Nature,” The Death of Nature, 1980, pp. 164-91.

6. Ecologies of mind

Mary Oliver, “The River,” “Starfish,” “Orion,” “The Turtle,” “Sunrise,” “Landscape,” “At Loxahatchie,” Dream Work, 1986.

Vandana Shiva, “Monocultures of the Mind,” 1993.

Eduardo Kohn, “Introduction: Runa Puma,” How Forests Think: Towards an Anthropology Beyond the Human, 2013, pp. 1-25.

7. Amazonia: colonization, deforestation, shamanism & the commodity frontier

Jason W. Moore, “Sugar and the Expansion of the Early Modern World-Economy Commodity Frontiers, Ecological Transformation, and Industrialization,” 2000.

Kim Heacox, “The Amazon rainforest is losing 10,000 acres a day. Soon it will be too late,” The Guardian. 7 Oct 2021.

Michael Taussig, sections 1-9 & 37-41, Palma Africana, 2018. pp. 3-33 & 116-23.

Embrace of the Serpent, dir. Ciro Guerra, 2015.

8. Biophilia

Henry David Thoreau, “Economy” & “Where I lived and what I lived for,” Walden, 1854, pp. 6-82.

Pyotr Kropotkin, “Chapter 2: Mutual Aid Among Animals,” Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution, 1902. pp. 26-48.

Edward O. Wilson, “Bernhardsdorp,” Biophilia, 1984, pp. 3-23.

9. Symbioses

Octavia Butler, “Bloodchild,” 1984.

Lynn Margulis, “Gaia,” The Symbiotic Planet: A New Look at Evolution, 1999, pp. 142-161.

Robin Wall Kimmerer, “Learning the Grammar of Animacy,” & “In the footsteps of the Nanabozho,” Braiding Sweetgrass, 2013, pp.60-71 & pp. 212-22.

10. Dominion

Max Horkheimer  & Theodor Adorno, “Man and Beast,” Dialectic of Enlightenment, 1972, pp. 203-212.

Rob Wallace, “The Political Virology of Offshore Farming,” Big Farms Make Big Flu: Dispatches on Influenza, Agribusiness, and the Nature of Science. Monthly Review Press, 2016. pp. 50-84.

Okja, dir. Bong Joon-ho. Netflix, 2017.

Moby, “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?” dir. Steve Cutts, 2017.

11. Field trip to Mosor

Practical information: 11am departure Bus line 28 (Split – Dubrava) to Sitno Gornje. There is a return bus at 5pm. Wear: layered clothes and comfortable sports shoes. Bring: a substantial lunch, energy snacks and 1 litre of water. Some more information can be found here.

mosor 11.1.20.jpg

Po Chu-I, “Madly singing in the Mountains,” 9th century.

William Wordsworth, “Stepping Westward,” 1803 & The Prelude, Book 6 (lines 430-640),1850.

Percy Shelley, “Mont Blanc,” 1816.

Philip Whalen, “Sourdough Mountain Lookout,” 1958.

12. Activism

Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang, 1975.

Nick Estes, “Siege,” Our History is the Future: Standing Rock Versus the Dakota Access Pipeline, 2019. pp. 33-66.

Poetry, dir. Lee Chang-dong, South Korea, 2010.

13. Collaborative final projects

Student tasks:

Study diaries (weeks 2-12) (uploaded to Google Classroom): 15%

Presentation (15-20 minutes): 10%

Creative collaborative final project (in groups of about three students) (i.e. a report on engagement activities, local ecological situation, nature writing, etc) (in total about 30 minutes): 25%

Final research paper: the recommended methodology for the final paper is to link analysis of one or more creative or literary text(s) with theoretical and/ or scientific ecocritical secondary materials in order to compose an original and creative critical thesis concerning one ecocritical issue, and the contribution of aesthetics to understanding this issue. If you wish to write a different kind of final paper that is also fine, but please consult with the class instructor (about 3000 words): 50%

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