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CLS3820 - Reading/Writing Nature

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Kate Rigby


Clayton First semester 2007 (Day)


Reading/Writing Nature provides an introduction to the field of ecologically oriented literary and cultural studies, or 'ecocriticism'. In this unit, we will investigate the techniques of representing, and attitudes towards, the natural world that are to be found in a range of texts exemplifying different discourses of nature (e.g. mythological, philosophical, scientific) and literary genres (drama, narrative, poetry, autobiography) from a number of different cultures and historical periods.


Students who successfully complete this subject will have:

  1. Developed an understanding of the impact of ecological thinking on the study of literature, culture and society.
  2. Enhanced their ability to recognize and discuss critically the cultural assumptions about nature and humanity informing a variety of significant (religious, philosophical and creative) texts from a range of historical and cultural contexts.
  3. Become more aware of the implications of their own personal and cultural views of nature for their self-understanding, relations with others and mode of being in the world.
  4. Continued the development of their skills in the areas of research, textual analysis and interpretation, and communication, both oral and written, through the application ecocritical perspectives to the analysis and interpretation of one or more texts.
Third year students will in addition be expected to have:
  1. Developed an understanding of the implications of ecocriticism for the methodology and underlying theoretical premises of literary and cultural studies.


Essay or piece of creative writing (2,500 words): 50% +
Written class test (2,000 words): 40%
Seminar participation 10% +

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week