Introduction to Climate Change Fiction

Professor: Stephen Siperstein
Institution: University of Oregon
Course Number: English 104

English 104: Introduction to Climate Change Fiction
Winter 2015
Instructor: Stephen Siperstein


Course Overview
This course offers an introduction to the study of literature by focusing on the emerging genre of climate change fiction (popularly known as “cli-fi”). Throughout the term, we will be investigating how fictional texts can suggest new ways for thinking about climate change and even afford opportunities for imagining more just and resilient futures. That is, we will consider the question: how and why does fiction, and specifically literary fiction, matter in the context of climate change? To pursue such an investigation, we will analyze the specific formal and stylistic conventions of literary and cultural texts and situate those texts within broader debates and discourses—scientific, historical, and political—about climate change. Specifically, we will read a range of short stories and novels, analyzing how features like point of view, characterization, and figurative language enhance the effects that those stories produce on their readers. We will also compare these literary texts to radical forms of fiction—like multiple-authored graphic novels, podcasts, and even alternate reality games—and will thus consider the extent to which different cultural forms shape the ways that people see, understand, and relate to the world. Overall then, this course focuses on developing the necessary tools and skills for thinking, writing, and speaking critically about both literature and climate change.

Full syllabus (PDF): ASLE_Syllabi_CliFiSiperstein