English 252: This discussion-based and writing-intensive course prepares students to be English majors by introducing them to the conventions and methods of literary study. Special attention is paid to research methods and learning a range of critical approaches to literary texts. In addition to learning the aesthetic qualities of literary texts, we discuss the role that literature plays in larger cultural, social and political dialogues through the theme of the course.

Course Theme: Readings and class discussions focus on literary representations of the environment in literature with an emphasis on racialized and gendered depictions of “nature,” as well as of human and non-human characters who are associated with “nature” in various ways. We consider in what ways “nature” is a conceptual construction designed to other the nonhuman and to valorize or demonize those associated with either its perceived purity or savagery. We examine this fundamental paradox of “nature” as both savior and enemy for humanity.

Professor: Kaitlin Mondello is a Ph.D. Candidate in English at The Graduate Center. She is working on her dissertation on posthuman ecology in transatlantic Romanticism focused on the work of Mary and Percy Shelley, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Emily Dickinson. Her teaching and research interests include Ecocriticism and Animal Studies. She is an Adjunct Professor of English at Hunter College in New York City and taught previously in Florida. She is a Writing Fellow at The School of Professional Studies and worked with the Sustainability and Environmental Justice Program at John Jay College. She leads the Ecocriticism Public Working Group through The Center for the Humanities and is the author of “‘Perpetual Analogies’ and ‘Occult Harmonies’: Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Ecological Selves” in Romantic Ecocriticism: Origins & Legacies (Lexington Books, 2016).