NORAM2585 – Restoring the Earth/Renewing Culture: Critical Evaluations of the Green American Tradition
As evidence of the gravity of environmental degradation rolls in from scientific work on climate change and species extinction we are left to stare at a bleak picture of possible eco-system collapse and political turmoil. Various proposals from politicians and governments have been made to tackle these issues, but the solutions are difficult to arrive at for a number of reasons. One important reason is that environmentalism raises radical questions about our present way of life—including our methods of agriculture, power-generation, spatial organization, and economy. Simply put, our way of life makes too many demands on the earth’s biosphere. The United States has had an important hand in creating these problems, but Americans have also cultivated a tradition of green thinking. Modern environmentalism or the green movement arguably began in the United States in the 20th century, and discussions of nature, earth and environment continue to pose important intellectual questions.
This is a course in American Culture Studies and consequently it is about a tradition of letters (nature writing and social criticism) centered on attitudes toward the earth. We explore claims made by nature writers and advocates of “naturism”—including the supposition that only a fundamental reworking of our attitudes can save the earth. At the same time, the course introduces social geographic theory—including concepts of space, place, and the technological complex—to help evaluate Green writing and thinking and to introduce further questions designed to critically explore the world late modern industrial societies have made for all of us.
After completing this course you will have:
- learned how to study an interdisciplinary course that draws on literature, the history of ideas, art history, architecture and town planning, and social geography;
- learned the complications and opportunities to be found in reading different fields of knowledge together;
- acquired the ability to think critically, imaginatively and clearly.
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If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.
Formal prerequisite knowledge
It is recommended that you have attended NORAM1500 – American history (discontinued), NORAM1506 – American Civilization, an introduction (continued), NORAM1510 – Introduction to American Studies (discontinued), ENG1304 – American Literature or eequivalent.
Recommended previous knowledge
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.
Seminar, two hours per week for 10 weeks, 20 hours in total.
Attendance is an obligatory class requirement (8 out of 10 seminars). Additional absences must be justified by documentation to the exam coordinator. Read more about guidelines for compulsory activities.
You will hand in a first draft on your paper early in the semester.
Students are expected to use the mid-semester teaching break for studying and writing.
A portfolio examination on which the course grade will be based. You will hand in the final paper in the middle of the semester, and then have a class room exam in the end of the semester.
You must submit your paper in Fronter. Read more about submission procedures
Language of examination
The language of examination is 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
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.
Once the course requirements are fulfilled, they are valid for the two next semesters the course is taught.
Special examination arrangements
Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.