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Dr. Susan Sage Heinzelman, Director 2505 University Avenue, A4900, Burdine Hall 536, Austin Texas 78712 • 512-471-5765

Spring 2005

WGS 393 • ECOLOGY, FEMINISM & AMERICAN LITERATURE

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
46325 W
1:00 PM-4:00 PM
GAR 301
ENGELHARDT

Course Description

From the nature study essay and the regionalist sketch of the nineteenth century to the poetry of deep ecology and the multi-genre creative nonfiction of today, ecology and feminism have cross-pollinated in American literature. Whether viewed as textual strategies or theoretical tools to analyze texts—in other words, whether as practice or theory—how do they support, challenge, or engage our understandings of American literature? In this graduate seminar, we will survey theoretical developments regarding ecocriticism, feminism, and their intersections. We will then test out those theories by applying them to select literature, looking for their applicability, the potential modifications the literature suggests to the theory, and the places in which the theory has not “caught up” to the literary productions. Moreover, we will place the works we read within their broader social and historical contexts. Course Requirements We will begin with two shared pieces of literature, one from the nineteenth century and one contemporary piece. Each week one student will take responsibility for leading the class in a discussion applying that week’s theory to those pieces of literature. In addition, students will write bi-weekly two-page response essays, one of which will be expanded into an in-class conference presentation and essay, and one of which will become a bibliographical essay. In other words, rather than producing one final seminar paper, students will practice their skills with conference paper writing and delivery; annotation of existing scholarship; and teaching that applies theory to literature. Texts Possible texts include: Mary N. Murfree, His Vanished Star (1894) Wilma Dykeman, The French Broad (Wakestone, 1955) David Abram, The Spell of the Sensuous (NY: Pantheon, 1996) Joni Adamson, American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice, and Ecocriticism (Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 2001) Stacy Alaimo, Undomesticated Ground (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2000) Armbruster and Wallace, Beyond Nature Writing (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2001) Fetterley and Pryse, Writing Out of Place (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003) Stephanie Foote, Regional Fictions (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2001) Gaard and Murphy, Ecofeminist Literary Criticism (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1998) Annette Kolodny, The Lay of the Land (Chapel hill; university of North Carolina Press, 1975) Leo Marx, The Machine in the Garden (NY: Oxford, 1964) Joseph Meeker, The Comedy of Survival (NY: Scribner, 1974) Steven Rosendale, The Greening of Literary Scholarship (Iowa City, University of Iowa Press, 2002) Henry Nash Smith, Virgin Land: The American West as Symbol and Myth (Harvard, 1990) Rachel Stein, Shifting the Ground (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1997) Louise Westling, The Green Breast of the New World (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1996)

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