Professor: Dr. Ian Saunders
Institution: The University of Western Australia
Course Number: English 216/316

Course outline

Week one, July 17: Introduction and course organisation

Week two, July 24
Topic: narrative expectations, ecological concerns
Text: Ben Elton, Stark
Other reading: Meaghan Morris, “Future fear”, Mapping the Futures: Local
Cultures, Global Change, ed. Bird, Curtis et al (1993); Lawrence Buell,
“Representing the environment”, The Environmental Imagination: Thoreau,
Nature Writing, and the Formation of American Culture (1995)
I also suggest you go ahead to start reading Walden for the following week.

Week three, July 31
Topic: pastoral
Text: Henry Thoreau, Walden
Other reading: Buell, “Walden’s Environmental Projects”, The Environmental Imagination (1995)
Further reading: Max Oelschlaeger, The Idea of Wilderness: From Prehistory to the Age of Ecology (1991)

Week four, August 7
Topic: pastoral and ideologies of identity
Text: Mary Webb, The Precious Bane
Other reading: Raymond Williams, The Country and the City (1975); Karl Kroeber, “Discovering Nature’s Voice”, Ecological Literary Criticism: Romantic Imagining and the Biology of Mind (1994)
Further Reading: Peter Carey, Bliss

Week five, August 14
Topic: photography and the representation of natural landscape
Texts: drawn from a range of sources, but especially the work of Ansel Adams, the photography of The Australian Geographic, and Davis, “The Dead West: Ecocide in Marboro Country” New Left Review (1993)
Other reading: W.J.T. Mitchell, “Imperial Landscape”, Landscape and Power (1994)

Week six, August 21
Topic: representing nature: myth, fragmentation, evasion
Text: Carmel Bird, The Bluebird Cafe
Other reading: Ben Elton, This Other Eden

Week seven, August 28
Topic: Theme parks and technological utopias
Text: Alexander Wilson, “Technological Utopias: World’s Fairs and Theme Parks”, The Culture of Nature (1992)
Other reading: Susan Willis, “Disney World: Public Use, Private State”, South Atlantic Quarterly (1992); Jerry Mander, “Leaving the Earth: Space Colonies, Disney, and EPCOT”, In the Absence of the Sacred (1991)

Week eight, September 4
Topic: Environment and popular media
Texts: TV and advertising selection, The Lion King
Other reading: Andrew Ross, “Ecology of Images”, Eloquent Obsessions: Writing Cultural Criticism (1994); Jerry Mander, “Television: audiovisual training for the modern world”, In the Absence of the Sacred (1991)

First essay due Friday 8 September

Week nine, September 11
Topic: Nature in the age of reproduction
Text: Don DeLillo, White Noise
Other reading: Celeste Olalquiaga, Megalopolis: Contemporary Cultural Sensibilities (1992); Jean Baudrillard, The Transparency of Evil (1993)


Week ten, October 2
Topic: Green Hollywood
Texts: Mad Max III: Beyond Thunderdome and The Pelican Brief
Other reading: Begin reading Always Coming Home and The Death of Nature

Week eleven, October 9
Topic: Ecofeminism
Text: Ursula Le Guin, Always Coming Home
Other reading: Caroline Merchant, The Death of Nature: Women, Ecology and
the Scientific Revolution (1990); Karren Warren, “Ecofeminism” (1993)

Week twelve, October ]6
Topic: Imagining alternative environments
Text: William Gibson, Neuromancer
Other reading: Andrew Ross, “Cyberpunk in Boystown”, Strange Weather (1991); Eva Cherniavsky, “(En)gendering Cyberspace in Neuromancer: Postmodern Subjectivity and Virtual Motherhood”, Genders (1993); Hakin Bey, “The Information War”, CTHEORY (1995)

Week thirteen, October 23
Topic: Hollywood’s apocalypse
Texts: Bladerunner and Teminator 2
Other reading: Fred Pfeil, “Revolting yet conserved: Family Noir in Blue
Velvet and Termimator 2” Postmodern Culture (1992)

Second essay due Thursday 2 November

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