NORAM4585 – 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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Formal prerequisite knowledge
Acceptance to the master program in LAP or other relevant program.
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.
A five page un-graded qualifying paper is required. Read more about guidelines for compulsory activities.
The exam consists of a 10 page term paper on an assigned topic.
Graduate students are held responsible for an expanded requiring reading list for the paper and exam.
You must submit your final paper in Fronter. Read more about submission procedures.
Language of examination
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
A term paper or equivalent that is passed may not be resubmitted in revised form.
If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline, this will be counted as an examination attempt.
It is not possible to submit the same term paper a later semester. If you want to re-take your exam, you must write on a different topic.
Special examination arrangements
Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.