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Thompson Rivers University
Thompson Rivers University

ENGL 4231: Literature and the Environment

Students explore a variety of literary texts, such as poems, plays, short stories, novels, and creative non-fiction, to understand how changing literary representations of the natural environment have affected cultural attitudes towards, and human relationships with, the natural environment. The texts studied emphasize that, as much as humans impact their physical environment, the physical environment also has indelible effects on human beings.

Learning outcomes

  • Articulate a deeper understanding of topics, issues, and themes as expressed in environmental literature (in various forms).
  • Express your knowledge and understanding of the creative links between a variety of literary genres and art forms related to environmental literature.
  • Demonstrate advanced collaborative skills and comprehension of social learning as it relates to environmental literature.
  • Write about environmental literature at an advanced level of proficiency.

Course topics

  1. An Introduction to Literature about the Environment
  2. Indigenous Worldviews and Perspectives on Environment
  3. Old-World Romanticism in Contrast with Indigenous Ways of Knowing the Land
  4. Fiction versus Non-Fiction in Environmental Writing
  5. Ecofeminism
  6. Anthropomorphism and the Human-Animal Connection
  7. The Future of Ecocriticism and Environmental Writing

Required text and materials

The following textbook is required for this course:

  1. Clark, T. (2011). The Cambridge introduction to literature and the environment. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
    Type: Textbook ISBN 978-0-521-72090-8

Students will also be required to purchase five supplementary items. These items can be found online or at the local new/used bookstore. They are:

  • The Marrow Thieves, by Cherie Dimaline
  • The Pemmican Eaters, by Marilyn Dumont
  • Now You Care, by Di Brandt
  • She Had Some Horses, by Joy Harjo
  • Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer


Please be aware that should your course have a final exam, you are responsible for the fee to the online proctoring service, ProctorU, or to the in-person approved Testing Centre. Please contact with any questions about this.

To complete this course successfully, students must achieve a passing grade of 50% or higher on the overall course and 50% or higher on the mandatory Final Exam.

Assignment 1: Location Usage Case Study 20%
Assignment 2: Recounting Environmental Issues in Multiple Forms 15%
Assignment 3: An Ecofeminist Textual Analysis 15%
Assignment 4: Connecting Film to Theory 15%
Final Exam (mandatory) 35%
Total 100%


Open Learning Faculty Member Information

An Open Learning Faculty Member is available to assist students. Students will receive the necessary contact information at the start of the course.

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