English 165HN - Ecofictions: The Human/Non-Human Mesh (Cook)
This small seminar (capped at 15) looks at ways of understanding relations among human and non-human beings. As far back as Ovid's Metamorphoses, writers of speculative fiction have been thinking across the boundaries between individual beings, species, even kingdoms/domains. We'll read a few poems and four novels together: LeGuin's science-fiction The Word for World is Forest; When the Killing's Done, T. C. Boyle's fictionalization of Santa Barbara Channel Islands a decade and a half ago ecological restoration projects; Sinha's magical-realist Animal's People (about the Bhopal disaster); Bacigalupi's dystopian biopunk The Wind-Up Girl. Along the way we'll look at how environmental ethicists understand complex interrelations among human and non-human, living and non-living, organic and inorganic entities – bodies, alliances, and systems made up of strange hybrids.