Welcome to ENGLISH/CSCT 2Z03 — Shifting Ground: Nature, Literature, Culture!

“When the wolves come out of the walls, it’s all over.”

Neil Gaiman, The Wolves in the Walls

Focusing on the theme of ecological habitat (and its connection to the highly charged cultural concept of home) this course examines the representation of nature in a variety of contemporary texts, with the aim of critically analyzing its conflicting resonances and some of the beliefs, values, fears and desires that inform them. Among the questions we’re investigating are: how do different representations of home/habitat frame problems of security, mobility, sustenance, and responsibility for humans and other living things? What concepts of identity and belonging, e.g. species, race, gender, sexuality, and class, shape the representation of nature (and vice versa)? And, finally, what socio- ecological histories do different texts/genres invite us to remember? What kinds of futures do they allow us to imagine?

This blog is a venue for the presentation of class projects, focused on themes of bioregionalism, natural/cultural objects, and interspecies relations, represented through the frameworks of family albums and treaties. Together they offer a snapshot of our changing home and habitat, which extends from the place we’re currently inhabiting, at the south-west end of Lake Ontario, to encompass the planet.


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