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Readings in Contemporary Literary Theory: Ecocriticism (ENGL-UA 9735 or ENVST-UA 9510)
Semester 2 / 2015


Terra Nullius i "We watched them come with new ideas for change, create", Brenda Saunders , 2012 single work poetry (taught in 1 units)
— Appears in: Looking for Bullin Bullin 2012; (p. 7)
Mallee Lisa Gorton , 2006 sequence poetry (taught in 1 units)
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , March no. 279 2006; (p. 49)
form y separately published work icon Tracks Robyn Davidson , Marion Nelson , ( dir. John Curran ) Australia : See Saw Films , 2013 Z1910218 2013 single work film/TV (taught in 2 units) 'The inspirational true story of Robyn Davidson's solo camel trek through the harsh centre of Australia, aided only by her faithful canine companion Diggity and the National Geographic photographer who chronicled this epic modern adventure.' (Source: Screen Australia website)
y separately published work icon On the Beach Nevil Shute , Melbourne : Heinemann , 1957 Z125153 1957 single work novel science fiction (taught in 3 units)
— Appears in: Krysolov. Na Berugu 1991;

'After the war is over, a radioactive cloud begins to sweep southwards on the winds, gradually poisoning everything in its path. An American submarine captain is among the survivors left sheltering in Australia, preparing with the locals for the inevitable. Despite his memories of his wife, he becomes close to a young woman struggling to accept the harsh realities of their situation. Then a faint Morse code signal is picked up, transmitting from the United States and the submarine must set sail through the bleak ocean to search for signs of life.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (2009 Vintage ed.).

y separately published work icon Indelible Ink Fiona McGregor , Carlton North : Scribe , 2010 Z1679611 2010 single work novel (taught in 4 units)

'Marie King is a 59-year-old divorcée from Sydney's affluent north shore. Having devoted her rather conventional life to looking after her husband and three children - who have now all departed the family home - she is experiencing something of an identity crisis, especially as she must now sell the family home and thus lose her beloved garden. On a folly she gets a tattoo.

'Marie forges a friendship with her tattoo artist, Rhys, who introduces her to an alternative side of Sydney. Through their burgeoning connection, Marie's two worlds collide causing great friction within Marie's family and with her circle of rich friends.' (From the publisher's website.)


Recent findings in the biological and physical sciences pose complex questions not just for those who work in the lab, but for philosophers, scholars, artists and students of literary theory. In this course we consider the cultural reverberations of ecological awareness—focusing on literature, cinema and visual art. Eco-criticism is a relatively young field of study in the humanities, developed in response to twin crises: actual environmental degradation, and a breakdown in intellectual categories of ‘the natural’ brought on by technology and politics. This course provides an opportunity to reflect on a number of key tropes in ecological thinking including wilderness, pollution, animals, food and apocalypse. Learn about a philosopher who survived a crocodile attack, the beach at the end of the world, how to prepare and eat Australian moths, and why the Large Hadron Collider is a metaphysical machine. Principle texts in this course include American and Australian novels, films and documentaries, read alongside supplementary sources in literary, audio and artistic mediums. We ask how literature—one of the richest arenas for the practice of human imagination—does, has, or could shape environmental thought and action. How does the non-human world enter into human artforms? What are the historical and structural obstacles to admitting different forms of consciousness into text? What literary genres and styles are called forth by the huge ecological challenges of our times?