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What is ecology? What is nature? What is ecological literature? In this class Timothy Morton, professor of English and nature and culture, investigates these profound and very urgent questions. In Morton’s recent book Ecology without Nature, he argues that environmental art needs rethinking on a deep and massive scale. Literary studies needs to acknowledge the extent to which every work of art is environmental, in the same way as every work of art is about gender, race, and class. This means that even texts that are not explicitly “about” the environment (animals, trees, mountains … etc.) have what Morton calls “environmentality.” Thus there are some texts that are environmental in form as well as in content. This class will challenge you to develop reading skills and philosophical depth to investigate one of the most important areas of literature and culture today.

Literature and the Environment, Fall 2008 UC Davis

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What is ecology? What is nature? What is ecological literature? In this class Timothy Morton, professor of English and nature and culture, investigates these profound and very urgent questions. In Morton’s recent book Ecology without Nature, he argues that environmental art needs rethinking on a deep and massive scale. Literary studies needs to acknowledge the extent to which every work of art is environmental, in the same way as every work of art is about gender, race, and class. This means that even texts that are not explicitly “about” the environment (animals, trees, mountains … etc.) have what Morton calls “environmentality.” Thus there are some texts that are environmental in form as well as in content. This class will challenge you to develop reading skills and philosophical depth to investigate one of the most important areas of literature and culture today.

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