I primarily teach environmental writing, ecocriticism, and place-conscious literature. In my classes I like to learn something new myself, so I rarely teach the same course the same way. And I try to give assignments in which students don’t just repeat to me information I already know, but rather give assignments in which we can both discover something new.
In my ecocriticism and place-conscious literature courses I usually take a few field trips to engage students with the physical realities of the subjects we are reading about. Common field trips are to the Platte River in spring to watch the migration of the sandhill cranes, and to Spring Creek Prairie Audubon Center in the fall, to see the tallgrass prairie in all its glory. We’ve also made several trips to the “Build Our Energy Barn” sited on the proposed path of the Keystone XL pipeline.
In these classes the material covered provides students with insight into how literature can re-direct human consciousness to a more harmonious engagement with the natural world, how, that is, literature can contribute to fostering an ecologically sustainable society. Students explore how literature’s powerful influence on the human imagination affects the way we think about, value, and treat the natural world.
- ENGL 933 Seminar in Ecocriticism and Environmental Literature
- ENGL 417/817 Topics: Literature of the Anthropocene
- ENGL 317 Literature and Environment
- ENGL 487 Senior Seminar Capstone: Lord of the Rings