Fall 2023: European, African, and Asian Adventure

E 339 Literature of the Earth [CRN 75603]

Overview of Course

The title of this course, “literature of the earth,” draws a distinction between the record humans create of their experience and the planet they inhabit, between what we express and what is. But human alteration of the earth has always been an aspect of human expression. Humans have moved stones and cut channels, extracted, hybridized and modified. We know something about this from the written record; as our voyage progresses, we will also have the opportunity to ‘read’ the record on the land itself and to hear from its inhabitants. We will read translations of the first marks carved in stone, excerpts from classical and medieval chronicles, English and American Romantic celebrations of nature, postcolonial critique and contemporary eco-fiction to derive an understanding of how humans have engaged with the earth across time. As we follow our ship’s itinerary, we will consider how that engagement has been and continues to be differently conceived across regions and cultures. Class meetings will be seminar-style, with discussion of students’ responses to study questions focused on assigned readings and brief lectures to set context. Each student will propose, draft, and revise one longer, polished work.