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)

“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,” “Ray Brinkman and Dorothy Cazaly,” “Douglas Pavlicek,” The Overstory, 2018, pp. 1-97.

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.

First Reformed, dir. Paul Schrader, 2017.

4. 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.

5. 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.

Dominion, dir. Chris Delforce. Lucent films, 2018. Trailer.

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.

Rhett Butler, “Amazon Destruction,” Mongabay, 2020.

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

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

8. 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.

9. 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.

David Graeber, “What’s the Point if We Can’t Have Fun?” The Baffler, 2014.

10. 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,” Braiding Sweetgrass, 2013, pp.48-59; “In the footsteps of the Nanabozho,” pp. 205-16.

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.

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 paper (about 3000 words): 50%

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑