Fw: WI01/Envir. Lit. (fwd)
angela2u at u.washington.edu
Tue Nov 14 12:43:21 PST 2000
Angela Leung Undergraduate Adviser
Department of Geography Smith 415-B Box 353550
Seattle, WA 98195-3550
Tel: (206) 543-7793 Fax: (206) 543-3313
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 2000 10:50:29 -0800
From: Rachel Vaughn <rvaughn at u.washington.edu>
To: advisers at u.washington.edu
Subject: Fw: WI01/Envir. Lit. (fwd)
Please forward to students as appropriate.
> Environmental Studies 450C: NATURE AND ENVIRONMENT IN AMERICAN LITERATURE
> SLN 8560
> 5 credits
> MW 130-350
> David C. Morris
> Associate Professor
> American Literature and Environmental Studies
> Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Program
> University of Washington, Tacoma
> "Nature and Environment in American Literature" to be taught on the
> campus, Winter 2001.
> Goals and themes of course:
> 1. To read and discuss important literary texts on the environment which
> are very often absent from conventional courses in American literature and
> from the standard American literature anthologies.
> 2. To discover how the texts deepen our understanding of the great
> complexity entailed by the widely and casually used phrases "harmony with
> nature" and "alienation from nature."
> 3. To examine how the "literary" characteristics and qualities of a text
> relate to its ability to transform or intensify our notions of
> environmental value.
> 4. To explore the degree to which there is a underlying pattern of
> concerns preoccupying American writers who address environmental themes.
> Thematic introduction
> In contemplating humankind's treatment of the planet, American
> poet Robinson Jeffers-- with his unique combination of passion and
> detachment--observed in the 1940's: "It seems time our race began to think
> as an adult does, rather than like an egocentric baby or insane
> person." In attempting to think like an adult, to think with what he
> called "the whole mind," Jeffers developed his characteristic world-view,
> his provocatively named "inhumanism." Inhumanism uncannily anticipates
> attitudes and feelings central to what later came to be known as
> "environmentalism." Jeffers defines inhumanism as "a shifting of emphasis
> and significance from man to not-man; the rejection of human solipsism and
> recognition of the transhuman magnificence."
> To Jeffers, the inhumanist vision generated authority for a new,
> significant stance toward nature--a stance that today we can see may be
> necessary if we are to come to terms with the environmental crisis in
> which we currently find ourselves. Jeffers's project shifts our focus
> from the human mind itself to the external world the mind recognizes and
> feeds upon. In his view, the proper goal of human will should not be to
> dominate nature, but to organize human life in such a way that individuals
> can fully experience the transhuman magnificence. Any willful activity
> which limits access to this source of value is self-defeating.
> To a significant extent all of the texts we will read engage the
> issues that Jeffers raises. This course will focus on the literary
> conversation in American literature about the kind of value claim that
> Jeffers makes. How is the object of this value it to be described,
> embodied, celebrated or defended? Do writers construct it or discover it?
> What patterns of language and rhetoric are used in the effort to capture
> it? What forms of skepticism are suspicious of it?
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