HC221H - Climate Change and the Problem of Representation

Professor: Casey Shoop

4.00 credits

  • CRN 15676: Monday & Wednesday, 6:00-7:20pm @ FEN 119

What are the representational demands of climate change and environmental catastrophe on artistic production? How do we represent what the enormity of these changes mean for collective social life?  Does the temporal and spatial scale of the problem make it difficult for our aesthetic modes of representation to respond adequately to the present crisis?  In this course we will consider both the limits and possibilities of literary and other aesthetic forms to respond to the burgeoning reality of climate change.  If the enormity of the problem presents a unique challenge to our representational capacities, we will nonetheless explore how literature, visual arts,  and film respond and adapt to this transforming world. Is there a poetics of environmental disaster? Does literature offer us a means to imagine a world otherwise? How does art give form and expression to diverse experiences of living with climate change? Our attention to the aesthetic problems posed by climate change will cluster around several broad impacts: Arctic warming and ice loss; sea-level rise and the climate refugee; extinction and biodiversity loss; climate mourning and radical activism.