Advanced seminar: Pollution and Toxicity in North America (Science) Fiction - Details
You are not logged into Stud.IP.
Lehrveranstaltung wird online/digital abgehalten.

General information

Course number 021 100 0008
Semester SS 2021
Current number of participants 9
expected number of participants 15
Home institute Amerikanistik
Courses type Advanced seminar in category Teaching
First date Wed , 14.04.2021 10:15 - 11:45
Online/Digitale Veranstaltung Veranstaltung wird online/digital abgehalten.
Hauptunterrichtssprache englisch
Literaturhinweise Please obtain the following works for the course:
Philpp K. Dick _Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?_ (1968)
Ruth Ozeki _All Over Creation_ (2002)
Larissa Lai _Tiger Flu_(2018)

Ebooks are okay - please be aware that Larissa Lai's Tiger Flu might take a while longer to receives if you order it as paperback, so make sure you order books in time.

Course location / Course dates

n.a Wednesday: 10:15 - 11:45, weekly

Module assignments


Toxicity and pollution – in various manifestations – have a long history in North American fiction. Ideas and fears of pollution especially have long merged moral and environmental concerns, and have, moreover, mirrored larger contemporary political and cultural anxieties. In the second half of the 19th century, in the contexts of rapid industrialization and the increasing use of fossil fuels, but also of the professionalization of medical, biological, and chemical knowledge, the themes of toxicity and pollution gained further traction as concrete dangers to environment and humans alike. While some dangers, like coal smog or polluted rivers, were easily apparent, others wrought their damage undetected.

When Rachel Carson published Silent Spring in 1962, she drew Americans’ attention sharply to the vast and deadly consequences of pesticides. But it was especially her decision to illustrate the often “unseen and invisible” danger of pollution via narrative that left a lasting impression on readers.

In the 21st century, oil spills, micro-plastics, and radioactive waste are only a few of the examples that demonstrate the devastating effects of anthropogenic (human-made) toxicity and pollution on the planet. In terms of portraying risks, imagining consequences, and conjuring alterative ways of living, “fictional narratives,” according to Sylvia Mayer, make a “unique and indispensable” contribution to “current environmental risk discourses” (“World Risk Society” 495).

In this seminar, we will focus particularly on North American narratives that negotiate the anxieties and fears attached to pollution and that imagine the consequences of living on a planet marked (and sometimes all but destroyed) by toxicity.

Admission settings

The course is part of admission "Zeitgesteuerte Anmeldung: Ecocriticism".
Settings for unsubscribe:
  • The enrolment is possible from 01.03.2021, 08:00 to 05.04.2021, 20:00.