ENST 363 – ENG 390: Writing in an Endangered World | Fall 2017 | Tuesday & Thursday 2-3:45

Dr. Mark C. Long | 206 Parker Hall | office hours: Tuesday 12-1, Wednesday 10-12, Thursday 12-1, or by appointment.

Course Description Writing in an Endangered World is an upper-level humanities course at Keene State College focused on environmental writing in the United States from the 1960s to the present. Students will read a sequence of books that make visible the history of environmental thinking in North America and will consider the development of environmental writing as part of the social movement of environmentalism.

Required Books Ramachandra Guha, Environmentalism: A Global History; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Gary Snyder, Turtle Island; Edward Abbey, The Monkey Wrench Gang; Wendell Berry, The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture; Linda Hogan, Solar Storms; Gary Snyder, The Practice of the Wild: Essays; Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge; T. C. Boyle The Tortilla Curtain. 

Recommended Reference Sources For reliable overviews of the life and work of writers I recommend the Dictionary of Literary Biography.Volumes in this multi-book series are also available in hard copy on the reference shelves in the Mason Library. The relevant volumes for this course are Twentieth-Century Nature Writers: Prose. Vol. 275. New York: Gale, 2003 and Twentieth-Century American Nature Poets. Ed. J. Scott Bryson and Roger Thompson. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 342. Detroit: Gale, 2008.

For questions about writing and citation, you can consult Joseph Gibaldi, ed., MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers (sixth ed.); and it will be helpful to have on hand any college-level dictionary (The electronic edition of the Oxford English Dictionary is available from any campus computer. The dictionary will prove especially useful when you have questions about the meanings and the histories of key terms in the discourse of environmentalism.)

Learning Objectives and Outcomes As we proceed through the semester, you will be expected to demonstrate that you can articulate the interrelations of natural and social-cultural systems, and the ways in which human agency can both degrade and sustain the environment; examine national and international issues through artistic, philosophical, cultural, scientific, technological, economic, social and political perspectives; and demonstrate the ability and willingness to approach a particular idea, problem, task or goal from multiple perspectives and ask sophisticated questions.

The course will address program outcomes in Environmental Studies (critical thinking and problem solving skills, communication skills, skills associated with moral and character development, an understanding of the ethical implications of environmental issues) as well as in English (how historical, social, and cultural contexts shape literary works-including those works produced by cultures whose humanity and identity have been devalued, denied, or dismissed; the major genres of literature, rhetorical and literary strategies, and the ways in which literary works relate intertextually; the historical contexts and critical theories that shape literary analysis and inform scholarly debates in the field of literary studies; and careful reading, the use of literary vocabulary, an orderly critical approach, and the use of writing for a range of purposes.).

We will write a list of learning outcomes as a class when we reach the end of the course. These outcomes will be those that you have accomplished as a group and will be specific to our achievement as a class this semester.

Course Expectations and Requirements Regular attendance is expected and required. Absences have a devastating effect—on the quality of your thinking and writing as well as on the educational experience of other students in the course. If you must miss a class, please let me know in advance. We meet once each week. For this reason one unexcused absence will lower your final grade. If you miss two or more classes (two weeks) you will be asked to withdraw from the course.

Pre-class preparation and in-class participation is expected and required. You are expected to read carefully and thoughtfully and to be prepared to discuss what you have read in class. Let’s talk if you are having difficulties preparing for class, or if you would like to work more closely with me to become a more active participant in our work together. The sooner we talk, the better.

Required written work will be gathered in a blog that you will create and curate. There will be numerous short writing tasks and more in-depth work. You can expect to be writing during every week of the semester. All written work must be appropriately documented and posted before the beginning of class on the due date. We will talk about conventions for writing in an online format. And the MLA Handbook will serve as a common reference source.

Grading You earn your grade by 1) reading, 2) thinking and writing and 2) engaging in class

This is an upper-level college class and so everything that you write will demonstrate your commitment to developing more complex thinking and to presenting what you write in an engaging and professional way

Blog Posts You will receive credit or no credit for your writing in this class. To receive credit for your writing you must do the following:

  • post the 1000 word blog post/essay (about two and half single-spaced pages, or five double-spaced pages) by Sunday at midnight
  • write thoughtfully and with care (as opposed to hastily or mechanically)

In addition to the weekly writing on your course blog there will be a longer research and writing project in the second half of the course. We will develop this project together.

We all have busy schedules. And we call have competing demands on our time. But if you having trouble with the writing outlined above please talk to me sooner rather than later so that I can help you with your intellectual responsibilities in this class

Your blog will be a portfolio of your writing. And I will use the portfolio to help me determine your final grade. To this end, I encourage you to “curate” your blog—rethinking and revising what you have written as the course develops and you find yourself thinking differently. Provided you have met the due dates above, when I read the blogs during the grading period a blog with consistently written posts that has conceptual integrity has the potential to move your grade from, say, a B to an AB or an AB to an A

Class Engagement What you bring to class and what you do in class matters. We are thinking together about exciting materials and we need one another to do that work well. Here is what you need to do:

  • Come to class. If you miss more than one class, your grade will be affected. If you miss six classes (three weeks) you will need to withdraw from the course or take the failing grade that you have earned
  •  Read the books. If you are not reading the books you are not engaged in the class. If you are not reading the required and supplemental texts you will also find yourself struggling later in the semester when the connection between and among texts and ideas becomes essential to our work together
  • Participate: Listen and speak. you can contribute to the intellectual work of the class through careful listening, thoughtful comments and questions, and engaged conversation
  • Think and Rethink: Reflect on our class discussions and your learning so that we can build connections across class meetings and between the writing we do and the discussions we have in class
  • Meet and engage with Mark: Our sequence of conferences (conference weeks to be announced), yes. But also come by office, schedule time to talk when you have questions or are uncertain

I welcome questions at any point about your progress in the course. Please make an appointment during my office hours

If you are a student with a disability The Office of Disability Services (ODS), Elliot Hall, 8.2353, is available to discuss eligibility requirements and appropriate academic accommodations that you may require as a student with a disability. So all arrangements can be made, requests for academic accommodations need to be completed during the first two weeks of the semester. You are responsible for making an appointment with ODS for disability verification and determination of reasonable academic accommodations.

Emergency Operations In the event the College closes for a major disaster, students are responsible for regularly checking their e-mail, voice mails, and Blackboard for information on alternative course delivery procedures and course work submission. Students will be responsible for completing their assignments and ensuring that they have completed all of the core requirements for their courses before they will receive a final grade for the course.

literature and environmentalism at keene state college

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