- Course Number: ENGL 122EC
- Quarter: Summer A 2023
This course focuses on the ecological imprints of atmospheric and organic elements on urban space. It explores how the hybrid and deeply entangled cultural politics of elements such as earth, air, water, fire, etc. have impacted the lived experience of urban spaces across ages. Our exploration of the elements will lead us to consider questions of genre. For example, how do the dampness and subsiding nature of underground spaces in cities (subways or sewers) is utilized as a narrative device in horror? How the scarcity of water in cities of the global south is represented in the sequential dynamics of graphic novels? What does today’s documentary realism genre have to say about the crisis of air pollution in megacities of the East (Beijing) and the West (Warsaw)? What does the use of snow in Magic Realist’s short fiction tell us about the post-industrial cities of Europe? In the readings for this course, we will see how natural elements have refused to stay put and have disrupted the politics of planning in cities like London, Calcutta, New Delhi, Beijing, Warsaw, New York, and Dublin. Throughout the course, we will explore how the use of natural elements such as snow, fire, mist, and smog in literature and film can help us understand patterns in the portrayal of both sustainability and ecological crises in global cities.