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The Humanities have always been interested in Nature and the non-human or ‘other’, and this has gathered momentum with our increasing awareness of the planet’s vulnerability and our responsibility for averting environmental disaster. The term ‘ecocriticism’ was applied in the mid-1990s to the study of literature and the environment; since then, ecological approaches to critique have rapidly expanded into other areas, encompassing ‘dark ecology’, ‘ecological materialism’, ecofeminist and queer ecological perspectives. This subject covers Romantic conceptions of Nature, evolution, science and species, the ‘wilderness’, human-animal relations, new environmentalisms, utopias, Indigeneity, and narratives about extinction, apocalypse and the posthuman.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should have:
- a broad understanding of literary conceptions of Nature and the physical world from the Eighteenth Century to the present day;
- an understanding of relations between literature, science and natural history;
- an understanding of literature’s capacity to imagine and inhabit life-sustaining worlds; and
- an understanding of literature’s capacity to think beyond the ‘human’ in the framework of ecological catastrophe.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- acquired a transportable set of interpretative skills;
- developed their capacity for independent research;
- developed their capacity for critical thinking and analysis; and
- developed their ability to communicate in writing.
Last updated: 15 May 2020