Place and Planet in the Anthropocene


Course Objective

After completing this course, you:
- will be familiar with theories on the cultural imagination and
understanding of place and planet in the Anthropocene;
- will be able to apply these theories in an analysis of the literary
texts on the syllabus;
- will be able to engage with other critics' arguments in your own
analysis of a literary work in class discussion and in a written essay.

Course Content

In this course we explore theories on the role of the perception of our
planet and the environment in the Anthropocene, the current geological
period named after man's pervasive impact on our planet. The Norwegian
environmentalist philosopher Arne Naess has argued that with respect to
humans' capacity to care for others, “the nearer has priority over the
more remote—in space, time, culture, species.” In response, other
writers from a range of theoretical frameworks seek to shape a sense of
eco-cosmopolitanism, or forms of cultural imagination and understanding
that reach beyond the nation and around the globe. In contrast, scholars
in the environmental humanities have argued that we should not take a
God's eye view of Earth, but find new modes of interrelating with our
planet. In this course, we will analyze a number of literary texts
written in English from the perspective of these theories, and examine
the role of literature in the shaping of a sense of place and planet in
the Anthropocene.

Teaching Methods

Seminars (6 hours a week)

Method of Assessment

The learning aims of this course will be assessed by means of a) class
participation (20%); b) a paper proposal with annotated bibliography
(formative) and c) a final paper of 4000 words (80%). You need to score
a pass grade (5.5 or higher) for your final paper in order to pass the
course. RMA students will be expected to read more broadly in theory and
bring their reading to the class discussion, as well as write a more
extensive final paper (5000 words).


To be announced (registered students will receive an e-mail ahead of

Target Audience

Students in the MA English Literature in a Visual Culture or the RMA
Humanities / Literature and Contested Spaces / Environmental Humanities

General Information

Course Code L_ELMALTK001
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Humanities
Course Coordinator dr. K. Steenbergh
Examiner dr. K. Steenbergh
Teaching Staff dr. K. Steenbergh
dr. J. Diamanti

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar
Target audiences

This course is also available as: