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Literature, Ecology, Catastrophe (ENGL30047)
Semester 1 / 2015


Shakespeare, As You Like It

Tennyson, In Memoriam

H G Wells, The Island of Dr Moreau

Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Kafka, Metamorphosis

Rachel Carson, The Silent Spring

Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Paolo Bacigalupi, The Windup Girl

Margaret Atwood, The Year of the Flood

y separately published work icon Plains of Promise Alexis Wright , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 1997 Z104794 1997 single work novel (taught in 23 units)

'In this brilliant debut novel, Alexis Wright evokes city and outback, deepening our understanding of human ambition and failure, and making the timeless heart and soul of this country pulsate on the page. Black and white cultures collide in a thousand ways as Aboriginal spirituality clashes with the complex brutality of colonisation at St Dominic's mission. With her political awareness raised by work with the city-based Aboriginal Coalition, Mary visits the old mission in the northern Gulf country, place of her mother's and grandmother's suffering. Mary's return reignites community anxieties, and the Council of Elders again turn to their spirit world.' (From the publisher's website.)


The Humanities have always been interested in Nature and the non-human or ‘other’, and this has gathered momentum with our increasing awareness of the planet’s vulnerability and our responsibility for averting environmental disaster. The term ‘ecocriticism’ was applied in the mid-1990s to the study of literature and the environment; since then, ecological approaches to critique have rapidly expanded into other areas, encompassing ‘dark ecology’, ‘ecological materialism’, ecofeminist and queer ecological perspectives. This subject begins with some classical and early modern conceptions of the natural world; it goes on to cover Romantic conceptions of Nature, evolution, science and species, the ‘wilderness’, human-animal relations, new environmentalisms, utopias, Indigeneity, and narratives about extinction, apocalypse and the posthuman.