Place and Planet in the Anthropocene

Course code:
Period 1
Language of tuition:
Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen
dr. K. Steenbergh
dr. K. Steenbergh
dr. K. Steenbergh
Teaching method(s):

Course objective

After completing this course, you:
- will be familiar with theories on the cultural imagination and
understanding of place and planet in the Anthropocene;
- will be able to apply these theories in an analysis of the literary
texts on the syllabus;
- will be able to engage with other critics' arguments in your own
analysis of a literary work in class discussion and in a written essay.

Course content

In this course we explore theories on the role of the perception of our
planet and the environment in the Anthropocene, the current geological
period named after man's pervasive impact on our planet. The Norwegian
environmentalist philosopher Arne Naess has argued that with respect to
humans' capacity to care for others, “the nearer has priority over the
more remote—in space, time, culture, species.” In response, other
writers from a range of theoretical frameworks seek to shape a sense of
eco-cosmopolitanism, or forms of cultural imagination and understanding
that reach beyond the nation and around the globe. In this course, we
will analyze a number of literary texts written in English from the
perspective of these theories, and examine the role of literature in the
shaping of a sense of place and planet.

Form of tuition

Seminars (2 x 2 hours a week)

Type of assessment

The course will be assessed with a written essay.

Course reading

To be announced (registered students will receive a mail ahead of class)

Target audience

Students in the MA English Literature in a Visual Culture or the RMA
Humanities / Literature and Contested Spaces / Environmental Humanities

© Copyright VU University Amsterdam
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