Teaching North American Environmental Literature

  • Editors: Laird Christensen, Mark C. Long, Fred Waage
  • Pages: ix & 502 pp.
  • Published: 2008
  • ISBN: 9780873528108 (Paperback)
Teaching North American Environmental Literature Cover
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“More than a study of nature writing, this collection of essays examines the influences that have shaped the field, such as African American, American Indian, Canadian, and Chicano literature.”

Book News

“Teachers in settings from advanced high schools to community colleges and full undergraduate programs in American literature and environmental studies will want to use this book. It will prove a landmark in environmental literary pedagogy.”

—Louise Westling, University of Oregon

From stories about Los Angeles freeways to slave narratives to science fiction, environmental literature encompasses more than nature writing. The study of environmental narrative has flourished since the MLA published Teaching Environmental Literature in 1985. Today, writers evince a self-consciousness about writing in the genre, teachers have incorporated field study into courses, technology has opened up classroom possibilities, and institutions have developed to support study of this vital body of writing. The challenge for instructors is to identify core texts while maintaining the field’s dynamic, open qualities.

The essays in this volume focus on North American environmental writing, presenting teachers with background on environmental justice issues, ecocriticism, and ecofeminism. Contributors consider the various disciplines that have shaped the field, including African American, American Indian, Canadian, and Chicana/o literature. The interdisciplinary approaches recommended treat the theme of predators in literature, ecology and ethics, conservation, and film. A focus on place-based literature explores how students can physically engage with the environment as they study literature. The volume closes with an annotated resource guide organized by subject matter.

Joni Adamson
Stacy Alaimo
Karla Armbruster
Pamela Banting
David Landis Barnhill
Alanna F. Bondar
J. Scott Bryson
SueEllen Campbell
Katherine R. Chandler
Christopher J. Cobb
Hal Crimmel
Cheryl J. Fish
Cheryll Glotfelty
John R. Harris
Ursula K. Heise
Bob Henderson
Annie Merrill Ingram
Stephen R. Johnson
Jerry Keir
Glen A. Love
Jorge Marcone
David Mazel
Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands
Patrick D. Murphy
Jeffrey Myers
Barbara Barney Nelson
Daniel J. Philippon
Bernard Quetchenbach
Anne Raine
Randall Roorda
William Slaymaker
Scott Slovic
Cheryl C. Smith
Mary Stark
John Tallmadge
Priscilla Solis Ybarra

Foreword: Out of the Woods (1)

John Tallmadge

Part I: Backgrounds

Introduction: Teaching Environmental Literature—A Trek through the Field (9)

Fred Waage

The Varieties of Environmental Literature in North America (24)

Patrick D. Murphy

Ecocriticism as Praxis (37)

David Mazel

Teaching Ecocritical Theory (44)

Ursula K. Heise

“I Still Need the Revolution”: Cultivating Ecofeminist Readers (58)

Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands

Thinking with Animals: Teaching Animal Studies–Based Literature Courses (72)

Karla Armbruster

Part II: Mapping North American Environmental Literature

Mexican and Chicana/o Environmental Writing: Unearthing and Inhabiting (93)

Jorge Marcone and Priscilla Solis Ybarra

Abandoning the Fort: Cultural Difference and Biodiversity in Canadian Literature and Criticism (112)

Pamela Banting

United States Environmental Literature before the Twentieth Century (126)

Daniel J. Philippon

United States Environmental Literature of the Twentieth Century and Beyond (139)

Annie Merrill Ingram

Part III: Teaching North American Environmental Literature

Introduction: A Range of Approaches (149)

Laird Christensen

Disciplinary Approaches

Teaching American Modernism as Environmental Writing (162)

Anne Raine

Teaching Post–World War II American Poetry as Environmental Literature (173)

Bernard Quetchenbach

“Ready to Come Home”: Teaching African American Literature as Environmental Literature (185)

Jeffrey Myers

For the Sake of the Land and All People: Teaching American Indian Literatures from an Environmental Justice Perspective (194)

Joni Adamson

Teaching United States Environmental Literature in a World Comparatist Context (203)

Scott Slovic

Asking Ecocritical Questions (215)

SueEllen Campbell

“The Machine in the Garden”: Using Electronic Portfolios to Teach Environmental Literature (223)

Katherine R. Chandler

Giving Voice to the Novice Authority: Silent Spring in the Composition Classroom (236)

Cheryl C. Smith

Interdisciplinary Approaches

Teaching Environmental Literature on the Planet Indivisible (248)

Glen A. Love

Predators in Literature (256)

Barbara Barney Nelson

Reading the Landscape: Prairie Education through American Literature (269)

Mary Stark and Stephen R. Johnson

East Asian Influence on Recent North American Nature Writing (277)

David Landis Barnhill

Environmental Justice Issues in Literature and Film: From the Toxic to the Sustainable (294)

Cheryl J. Fish

Ethnic Ecoethics: Multicultural Environmental Philosophy and Literature (306)

William Slaymaker

Teaching the Literature of Agriculture (319)

Christopher J. Cobb

Ecofeminist Canadian Literature (328)

Alanna F. Bondar

Place-Based Approaches

Place-Based Courses and Teaching Literature Outdoors: An Overview (335)

Hal Crimmel

Finding Home in Nevada? Teaching the Literature of Place, on Location (345)

Cheryll Glotfelty

Teaching Place and Community History to Undergraduates (354)

John R. Harris

Children of the Asphalt: Teaching the Nature of Los Angeles Literature (363)

J. Scott Bryson

The Trouble with Texts; or, Green Cultural Studies in Texas (369)

Stacy Alaimo

Living as Equipment for Literature: The Summer Environmental Writing Program (377)

Randall Roorda

Experientially Teaching Canadian Travel Literature on the Trail and in the Classroom (392)

Bob Henderson

“Come to Paradise—While It Lasts”: Teaching Literary Ecology on Mexico’s Costa Alegre (403)

Jerry Keir

Part IV: Resources

Resources for Teaching Environmental Literature: A Selective Guide (415)

Mark C. Long

General Reference (416)

Ecocriticism (417)

Teaching Anthologies and Collections (418)

Mexican, Mexican American, and Chicano/a Environmental Literature (419)

The Environmental Literature of Canada (421)

Backgrounds to United States Environmental Writing (422)

United States Environmental Writing through the Romantic Period (422)

Natural History Writing 423 Nature Writing (424)

Regional and Place-Based Writing (425)

Bioregional Approaches (427)

Environmental Poetry and Ecopoetics (427)

Native American Literature (428)

Environmental Science and Ecology Environmental History (429)

Environmental Ethics and Ecology (430)

Religion and Nature (431)

Ecofeminism (431)

Environmental Justice (432)

Ecocomposition and Environmental Rhetoric (433)

Pedagogy (434)

Visual Resources (435)

Journals and Magazines (435)

Electronic Resources (436)

Notes on Contributors (437)

Works Cited (445)

Index (491)