Climate Fiction

Institution: Boston College

Instructor: Min Hyoung Song

Description: How can reading literature help sustain attention to climate change? If you’re taking this course, you probably already know something—maybe a lot of things—about climate change. You probably understand that it’s a “wicked” problem because there are no easy solutions and its dynamics are constantly shifting. It’s also wicked because there’s so much well-financed propaganda muddying discussion. And perhaps just as important, it’s wicked because, no matter how much you understand the problem and care about its consequences, it’s just plain difficult to keep thinking about it. I know for myself I can easily get overwhelmed and sad. This last area of concern is perhaps where literature can help the most, especially if reading literature is part of a larger practice of paying attention. This course seeks to use literature to develop strategies for sustaining attention to climate change as a phenomenon that affects our everyday lives. We will read novels, critical essays, journalism, and poems as well as watch some films, and we will also engage in a single project that will take the entire semester to complete. The project calls on you to change some aspect of the way you live your lives, and to reflect, through a series of assignments, on how reading stories about climate change and living your life differently affects your experiences of the everyday. The wager we are making is that doing and thinking can reinforce each other, and cannot be divorced from one another.

Level: Undergraduate

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.