ENG2532 – The Green American Tradition
Schedule, syllabus and examination date
The term "green tradition" was coined in the 1970s by a prominent literary scholar. It refers to a body of American writing, criticism, architecture and painting that reflects on the interaction of nature, landscape and society. These texts from the 19th and 20th centuries provide the content of this course. We will examine their intrinsic value for reflection on the human condition, but also evaluate their potential usefulness in light of current environmental issues, which have become predominant concerns of our time.
It has now been 50 years since the celebration of the first Earth Day in the US and nearly 37 years since the founding of Die Grünen in Germany. Environmentalism has gone from a fringe idea to a global agenda. It has appropriated the term “green” by setting forth a highly politicized agenda focused on global climate change and income redistribution. Solutions are relentlessly high tech: hyper-urbanism, artificial agriculture, and “smart” technologies are presented as the only feasible responses to the global environmental crisis. The course will examine the American “green tradition” as a potential alternative or corrective to these developments.
After completing this course, you:
- can consider/explore the relationality of nature, culture, and environment;
- can explain the development of sensibilities of beauty, place and the organic in general and within specific cultural contexts;
- can narrate the specific cultural and geo-environmental circumstances that lead to American nature writing have an insight into the relation between the imagination and the social world;
- can reflect on the dangers to humanity and the biosphere posed by doctrines of automatic technological progress, consumerism and rule by experts;
- have improved your skills in critical and intuitive reading.
Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.
If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.
Admission to the course is required to attend seminars.
Recommended previous knowledge
Background knowledge in American culture and history as well as British and/or American literature is recommended. The following courses are particularly helpful: ENG1506 – American History and Society: An Introduction, ENG1304 – American Literature or equivalent courses.
Good reading skills in English and a foundation in one or more of the following disciplines: history of ideas, social geography, literature, American history and politics.
- 10 credits overlap with NORAM2585 – Restoring the Earth/Renewing Culture: Critical Evaluations of the Green American Tradition (continued)
- 10 credits overlap with NORAM4585 – Restoring the Earth/Renewing Culture: Critical Evaluations of the Green American Tradition (continued)
- 10 credits overlap with ENG4532 – The Green American Tradition
Seminar, two hours per week for 10 weeks, 20 hours in total.
- For spring 2021, attendance is not obligatory, but it is highly recommended.
- Read more about guidelines for compulsory activities.
You will be given the opportunity to hand in a first draft of your paper, and receive feedback on this.
Access to teaching
A student who has completed compulsory instruction and coursework and has had these approved, is not entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework. A student who has been admitted to a course, but who has not completed compulsory instruction and coursework or had these approved, is entitled to repeat that instruction and coursework, depending on available capacity.
The form of assessment is a term paper consisting of three essays. You chose topics from questions provided by the lecturer. The first two essays are 3 pages in length and written in response to an assigned topic. The papers are submitted during the semester and returned with commentary attached. The third is five pages long, based on a topic chosen from a list provided by the instructor. It is composed at the end of the semester and is submitted along with revised versions of the first two essays as the course examination. Total required written production is 11 pages. (NB: a standard page consists of 2,300 characters).
Submit assignments in Inspera
You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit assignments in Inspera.
Use of sources and citation
Language of examination
The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.
Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.
Explanations and appeals
Resit an examination
For those who want to retake their exam: Since this exam includes a term paper, you must follow the classes and write a new paper in order to qualify. Admission depends on capacity.
Withdrawal from an examination
It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.
Special examination arrangements
Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.
The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.