Recent literary fiction has begun to investigate the possibilities and limits of story-telling in the era of Global Climate Change. These works, increasingly referred to as “climate-fiction” or “cli-fi,” explore humanity’s connection to- and impact upon Earth by asking questions such as: what will human and non-human communities look like after sea-level rise, desertification, and biodiversity loss remap our planet?; what new species might evolve in response to environmental disaster?; what affects—melancholy, despair, anger—will eulogize a lost home-world?
Reading contemporary cli-fi novels, short-stories, graphic novels, poetry, and film, this course will situate these texts within larger conversations of the Environmental Humanities, an interdisciplinary field that combines scientific-cultural discourses with humanistic concerns for social justice. Working through the narrative conventions of the dystopian, apocalyptic, and prophetic genres, we will ask how cli-fi not only narrates impending disaster on a global scale but strives to imagine a more just future, one that combines environmentalism and social equality. To aid our investigation, the fiction will be paired with excerpts from philosophical and ecocritical writings which will aid our development of the humanistic methodologies we need to understand this new genre of literary fiction.