Professor: David Anderson
Institution: University of Louisville
Course Number: English 660-01 (graduate level course)
African American Environmental Literature
In this course, we will discuss African American writers’ interest in environmental issues, their engagement with the environmental movement in America. Because of the legacies of slavery and sharecropping, African American writers have stressed equal access to public facilities (such as parks), the need for land ownership, and the importance of social justice to any proper interaction with the environment. Unlike many mainstream environmentalists, who have stressed the need for maintaining a pristine nature, African Americans have often stressed human relationships to nature as a kind of enlightened stewardship that freed up human creativity, while benefiting nature, as well. Finally, many of these writers have opposed the rigid racial and environmental determinism prevalent within the early environmentalist movement, and stressed the ways that culture, history, and social relationships influence human interaction with nature.
Full Syllabus (PDF): ASLE_Syllabi_AfAmEnvLitAnderson