Contemporary Environmental Writing

Institution: Brandeis University

Instructor: Caren Irr

Description: This course examines literary responses to the natural environment, focusing on recent decades. For 2015, the central theme will be the emerging genre of climate fiction—or “cli-fi” for short. These novels are often, but not always, set in a near future dystopian world in which climate change has accelerated, oil supplies have been depleted, and familiar social institutions are in crisis. They magnify the pressing environmental concerns of the present in order to imagine the possible directions and effects of human action. They also intermingle different genres—from science fiction to the thriller, romance, and prose documentary; tracking the migration of climate concerns from a specialized subgenre into the literary and cultural mainstream will be a central theme of the course. Throughout the semester, we will approach cli-fi as a series of thought experiments, and the course will be dedicated to assessing the inner workings of these experiments and evaluating their results.

Country: United States

Syllabus: Contemporary Environmental Writing

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.