Literature and the Environment: Global Eco-Fiction

Module code: EN7141

In this module we will explore how contemporary literature responds to the increasingly urgent worldwide problems of climate change and environmental crisis. Drawing on current work in the rapidly evolving fields of ecocriticism and the environmental humanities, we will read and analyse novels by writers of varying cultural and ethnic backgrounds, from different parts of the world (India, Nigeria, Canada, and Jamaica). We will consider how these novels portray a range of environmental issues including global warming, water and air pollution, toxic waste, deforestation, and declining biodiversity.

We will ask: how do these writers use fiction to tackle issues of social and environmental justice? How does the form and generic mode of their novels contribute to their engagement with these issues? And how might their fiction intervene in wider debates on environmental crisis and ecological futures?

Topics covered

  • the nature/culture dichotomy
  • the connection of environmental questions with questions of race, class, gender and national/regional identity
  • the relationship of literary texts to environmental activism
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