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Monash University

Monash University Handbook 2010 Undergraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedNot offered in 2010
Coordinator(s)Dr Kate Rigby


This unit will introduce students to the new field of ecologically oriented literary and cultural studies, or 'ecocriticism'. It will critically examine various cultural constructions of 'nature' and 'the body' in a range of texts exemplifying different discourses of nature (e.g. mythological, philosophical, scientific) and literary genres (e.g. drama, narrative, poetry). In addition, consideration will be given to the emergence of a number of distinct approaches within ecocritical studies, including ecofeminism, anti-colonialism, cultural materialism, environmental justice, ecophenomenology, eco-deconstruction and Queer ecocriticism.


Students who successfully complete this unit will have:

  1. Developed an understanding of some of the implications of ecological thinking with regard to literary and cultural studies.
  2. Enhanced their ability to recognise and discuss critically the cultural assumptions about 'nature' and 'the body' informing a variety of significant (religious, philosophical and creative) texts from a range of geographical and historical contexts.
  3. Familiarised themselves with a number of distinct approaches within ecocritical literary and cultural studies and learnt to apply at least one of these.
  4. Become more aware of the implications of their own assumptions regarding nature and the body for their self-understanding, relations with others and mode of being in the world.
  5. Continued the development of their skills in the areas of research, textual analysis and interpretation, and communication, both oral and written.
Specifically, they should have:
  • demonstrated their understanding of ecocritical argumentation in presenting a review of a major article, both orally in class, and in writing;
  • demonstrated their ability to apply ecocritical perspectives to the analysis and interpretation of one or more texts in the form of a logically ordered written argument.

Third year students will in addition be expected to have:
  1. Demonstrated their understanding of the implications of ecocriticism for the methodology and underlying theoretical premises of literary and cultural studies.


Essay/creative writing (2500 words): 50%
Seminar paper (1000 words): 20% +
Exam (1 hours): 30%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

Sustainability, environment and society
Comparative literature and cultural studies