Ecofictions - The Human/Non-Human Mesh

Course Number: ENGL 165HN
Prerequisites: Writing 2 or upper-division standing
Advisory Enrollment Information: May be repeated for credit providing letter designations are different.
General Education Areas Fulfilled: GE Area G Requirement, Writing Requirement
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 165AA-ZZ
Quarter: Winter 2018
Day(s): TR
Time: 3:30pm - 4:45pm
Location: SH 2617
Description:

This small seminar looks at ways of understanding relations among human and non-human beings, with reference to concepts from environmental ethics. Confused interrelations among human and non-human, living and non-living, organic and inorganic entities – beings, systems, and bodies as strange hybrids – have become paradigmatic in contemporary ecophilosophical projects from Deleuze and Guattari’s assemblages to the plural agents of Actor-Network Theory to Timothy Morton’s ‘mesh’ to holobionts and superorganisms. Yet as far back as Ovid's Metamorphoses, writers of speculative fiction have been thinking across the boundaries between species for a long time. We'll read a few poems and four novels together: LeGuin's science-fiction The Word for World is Forest; Bacigalupi's dystopian biopunk The Wind-Up Girl; Sinha's magical-realist Animal's People (about the Bhopal disaster); and When the Killing's Done, T. C. Boyle's fictionalization of debates and activism around habitat restoration projects that took place just offshore from us on the Santa Barbara Channel Islands a decade and a  half ago.