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Unit information: Literature and the Environment: Diverse Perspectives in 2021/22

Unit name Literature and the Environment: Diverse Perspectives
Unit code ENGLM0066
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Professor. Pite
Open unit status Not open




School/department Department of English
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Description including Unit Aims

At a time of rapid and dangerous man-made changes to the climate, what role might literature play in developing sustainable perspectives and ways of life? What can writing do to help create resilience? This unit introduces a range of authors and critics whose work is shaped by these questions: the poets Mary Oliver and Kathleen Jamie, the new nature writers Helen Macdonald and Robert Macfarlane. It studies the ecocritical writing which advocates ‘green literature’ and those critics also who challenge or interrogate its claims. It moves beyond a eurocentric point of view by studying postcolonical ecocriticism, and beyond the humanistic focus on mankind to consider critical animal studies. Attending principally to modern and contemporary work, the unit will show too the historical depth of environmental concerns. It will explore the gender implications of an ecocritical approach and its relation to spirituality.

Primary and secondary material will be set and discussed alongside each other. Seminars will cover a range of genres, historical periods and thematic concerns, including animal studies, ecospirituality, medieval writing, postcolonialism, romantic period poetry and blue humanities.

Intended Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

1. gain an understanding of ecocritical readings – their variety and underlying assumptions

2. relate ecocritical perspectives to specific issues articulated in literary texts;

3. discriminate between ecocritical and other critical perspectives on the literature studied;

4. identify and present pertinent evidence to develop a cogent argument in written form appropriate to level M.

Teaching Information

Teaching will be delivered through a combination of synchronous and asynchronous activities. These can include seminars, lectures, class discussion, formative tasks, small group work, and self-directed exercises.

Assessment Information

1 x 4000 word summative assignment (100%) [ILOs 1-4] 1 x 1000 word presentation


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. ENGLM0066).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.