Climate Fiction

Institution: Colby College

Instructor: Christopher A. Walker

Description: Contemporary fiction is now investigating the possibilities and limits of story-telling in the era of global climate change. These works, referred to as “climate fiction” or “cli-fi,” explore humanity’s connection to- and impact upon Earth by asking questions such as: what will human and nonhuman communities look like after sea-level rise, desertification, and biodiversity loss remap our planet?; how might species evolve in response to ecological collapse?; what affects— melancholy, despair, hope—will eulogize a lost home-world? Reading cli-fi novels, short stories, poetry, and film, this course will situate our texts within the Environmental Humanities, an interdisciplinary field that combines scientific and cultural discourses about the environment with humanistic concerns for social justice. Working through the narrative conventions of the utopian, dystopian, and apocalyptic genres, we will ask how clifi not only narrates impending disaster on a global scale but also strives to imagine a more just future, one that combines environmentalism and social equality. These texts will be paired with excerpts from philosophical and ecocritical writings which will aid our development of the humanistic methodologies needed to analyze and appreciate this new genre.

Country: United States

Syllabus: Climate Fiction

Listed on UC-CSU NXTerra‘s Climate Fiction page by Professor Nicole Seymour. UC-CSU NXTerra is a resource for college teachers from across all disciplines and anyone seeking to enhance their teaching and learning about the climate crisis, critical sustainability, and climate justice studies, both inside and outside the classroom.