Literature and the Environment, Spring 2012
Class meets Mondays and Wednesdays from 1:40 to 3pm in Burleson 304.
- AE = American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau. Ed. McKibben.
- FW = Field Work: Modern Poems from Eastern Forests. Ed. Reece.
- BSNW = Best American Science and Nature Writing, 2010. Ed. Dyson.
Week 1 (No class meeting, since classes start on Thurs, Jan 12.)
Week 2 (MLK day, Wed Jan 18)
Wed: Begin reading Rash's novel, Serena. If you see this calendar before our class meeting, be sure to bring the novel to class.
Week 3 (Jan 23, 25)
Mon: Read Serena through part II (to page 210, which is the end of chapter 21).
- Reading-writing exercise due: Make an index of the first twenty-one chapters of the novel; include page numbers and a noun phrase that describes the action in each chapter. Type this up, and prepare it as a memo addressed to me and your classmates. And be aware that I may ask you to present your index to the class, using the "doc cam" and display screen.
Wed: Finish Serena. Bring Solar to class.
Week 4 (Jan 30, Feb 1)
Mon: Read Ian McEwan's comic novel, Solar, at least through "Part I: 2000" (through p120).
Wed: Read Solar at least through "Part II: 2005" (through p219).
Reading response due: Review the following two blogs and evaluate the credibility of each. That is, assess how each uses its sources. As a memo to me and your classmates, write a paragraph or two for each blog, in which you describe how you evaluate its credibility:
- climatedepot.com - A blog that "aims to redefine global warming reporting."
- climateprogress.org - "A liberal blog on the science, solutions, and politics of climate change."
Week 5 (Feb 6, 8)
Mon: Finish Solar. Also read ten poems by Ron Rash, here online: www.storysouth.com/summer2002/rashfeaturepoems.html. Also, bring to class FW, the poetry anthology edited by Reece.
Reading response due: In a memo written to me and to your classmates, write up 5 questions that you would like to ask Ron Rash. Those questions can be about his novel or poetry, or about anyone else's novels or poetry.
Tuesday evening, Feb 7: Author Ron Rash speaks at ETSU, exact time and location to be announced.
On Wednesday, Ron Rash will do a discussion and Q&A at 11:15-12:45, East TN Room, on the 3rd floor of the Culp Center. Dr. Graves organized this for his poetry class, and has invited us to attend. Be there if you can.
Wed: For class, browse the table of contents of AE; look at all the pictures, read the accompanying captions, and browse the "Notes on the Illustrations."
In addition, read the following, in AE:
- Terry Tempest Williams, from Refuge, p739-59.
- Janisse Ray, from "Ecology of a Cracker Childhood," p898-906.
Reading response due: In a memo to me and your classmates, write a response to the AE anthology. How would you characterize it? How many of the writers' names were already familiar to you? Did anything about it surprise you?
Week 6 (Feb 13, 15)
Mon: Read the following, in AE:
- Muir, "A Wind-Storm in the Forests," p89-98.
- Baker, "The Great Paver," p377-79.
- Ellen Meloy, "The Flora and Fauna of Las Vegas," p793-808.
- Julia Butterfly Hill, from "The Legacy of Luna," p907-19.
Wed: Exam 1.
Week 7 (Feb 20, 22)
Mon: Read the following, in AE:
- Abbey, "Polemic: Industrial Tourism and the National Parks," p413-34.
- Sanders, "After the Flood," p781-89.
- Kingsolver, "Knowing Our Place," p939-47.
Also due today: Write a memo to me and your classmates, in which you propose a topic for essay 1. Give me a working title, and explain why you're interested in the topic, and why you're qualified to write on it.
Wed: Read the following, in AE:
- Dreiser, "A Certain Oil Refinery," p186-91.
- Teale, "The Longest Day," p313-17.
- Dillard, "Fecundity," p531-49.
Week 8 (Feb 27, 29)
Mon: Draft of essay 1 due. Bring three copies of at least 1,200 words, typed. We'll do writing groups today.
Wed: Bring FW to class. Read at least five poems of your choice, and be prepared to discuss.
SPRING BREAK! March 5-9
Week 9 (March 12, 14)
Mon: Read FW through p82.
Also, topic proposal for essay 2 due. Write me a memo, telling me about what you like to read. What readings have you enjoyed, in this course--or outside of this coures, for that matter? What interests do you have, related to science and nature? Do you have a particular book in mind, that you would like to review for this course? If so, provide me with complete bib. info. The goal is for you to give me enough information so that I can recommend a book for you to review.
Wed: Finish FW. Begin reading Thoreau sections for next week. Today we meet at the kiosk on the edge of University Woods. It's at the end of the parking lot immediately south of the concrete railroad bypass bridge which is in turn due south of, and across JL Seehorn road from, the Sherrod library. Find the Sherrod library on this map and you'll be able to easily find the lot: http://www.etsu.edu/etsuhome/maps.aspx
Week 10 (March 19, 21)
Mon: In AE, read p9-19, an excerpt from Thoreau's Walden, "Chapter I: Economy."
Due today: Essay 1, revised and submitted today for a grade.
Wed: In AE, read:
- p19-25, an excerpt from Thoreau's Walden, "Chapter II: Where I Lived, and What I Lived For."
- p26-36, excerpt from "Huckleberries."
- p62-71, excerpt from Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass.
Also, bring Timothy Egan's The Big Burn to class.
Week 11 (March 26, 28)
Mon: Read Part I (to page 102) of Egan. Reading-writing exercise due: Write up alternate titles for each of the first 5 chapters. Type this exercise up, in the format of a memo addressed to me and to your classmates in Engl 3050.
Wed: Read Part II and III of Egan.
Week 12 (Apr 2, 4)
Mon: Read the following, in BSNW: "The Superior Civilization," by Flannery, p122-32; "Still Blue," by Brower, p133-43 ; "Darwin's First Clues," by Quammen, p149-57.
Also due on Monday: Essay 1 Revision Proposal: If you plan to revise essay 1 for a grade, write me a memo, telling me how you plan to revise. Of course, include the title of your essay, and your grade. (Revisions are due Monday, April 16.)
Wed: Read the following book reviews, on line:
- "Book Review: 'The Big Burn' by Timothy Egan: A compelling look at the biggest forest fire in American history." By Michael Joseph Gross. The Los Angeles Times, October 25, 2009. www.latimes.com/entertainment/news /la-ca-timothy-egan25-2009oct25,0,7852974.story
- "Couple Creates an Empire by Felling Trees and Anyone in Their Way" [review of Serena] by Janet Maslin, New York Times, October 5, 2008, http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/06/books/06masl.html
- Hosed: Is there a quick fix for the climate? [rev. of Levitt and Dubner's SuperFreakonomics and Al Gore's Our Choice], by Elizabeth Kolbert. The New Yorker, November 16, 2009. www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2009/11/16/091116crbo_books_kolbert
- "Solar by Ian McEwanIan: McEwan excels at climate science but his one-dimensional protagonist makes you shudder." By Jason Cowley. The Observer [Arts magazine of the Manchester, UK Guardian]. Saturday 13 March 2010. www.guardian.co.uk/books/2010/mar/14/solar-ian-mcewan
Week 13 (Apr 9, 11)
Mon: Draft of essay 2 due. Bring three copies of at least 1,200 words, typed. We'll do writing groups today.
Wed: Read the following, in BSNW: "All You Can Eat," by Carrier, p161-71; "The Sixth Extinction?" by Kolbert, p202-25; "Graze Anatomy," by Manning, p301-10.
Week 14 (Apr 16, 18) Readings to be announced.
Mon: For those students who chose to revise essay 1 for a new grade, the revision is due today: Include the marked, March 19 revision, and a cover memo explaining to me what you've changed.
Also for today, read the following, in BSNW: "Flight of the Kuaka," by Stap, p106-113. In AE, read "Mad Farmer Liberation Front" and "The Making of a Marginal Farm," p505-515, by Wendell Berry.
Weds: Review for exam 2. Please bring AE and BSNW to class.
Week 15 (Apr 23, 25)
Mon: Student presentations.
1. Natalia on The Coal Tattoo; 2. Whitney on Saints at the River; 3. Jay on When the Killing's Done; 4. Craig on The Road; 5. Cayce on Into the Wil ; 6. Michael on The Great Smokies and the Blue Ridge; 7. Amanda on Animal, Vegetable, Miracle; 8. Colleen on Planetwalker
Wed: Essay 2 due. Student presentations:
1. Micah, Jordan and Barrett on The Appeal; 2. Katelyn and Anna on The Monkeywrench Gang; 3. Katie Beth on Desert Solitair; 4. Rachel on The Legacy of Luna; 5. Leslie on Inventing Niagara; 6. Ethan on The Wanting Seed; 7. Chelsea on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
Exam 2, administered during the final exam period: Monday, April 30, 1:20-3:20pm. The period will begin with two presentations: 1. Jon K. on Algernon Blackwood; 2. Jonathon Sullins on Harvest (novel by C. Landis)