Summer 2023 - ENGL 202 D100

The Environmental Imagination (3)

Class Number: 2992

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We 9:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Margaret Linley
    Office: AA 6107
    Office Hours: Monday 10:30-11:30 and by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    12 units or one 100-division English course.



Explores how literature and language imagine the natural world and engage with environmental and ecological crisis. Topics may include ecocriticism: eco-poetics; approaches to the natural world; local, imperial, and Indigenous ecologies. May be further organized by historical period or genre. Breadth-Humanities.


Imagining the Nature in the Anthropocene

In this course we will explore traditional and contemporary literary works as they are shaped by the environmental imagination. Our perspective will be framed by the controversial geologic concept of the Anthropocene - the new name for the unintended by-products of human activity on the planet. The origins of the Anthropocene era are often located in the early nineteenth century, when the Industrial Revolution was gaining steam and the British Empire was rapidly expanding. We will begin by thinking about key concepts, not least of all nature itself, in foundational literature of the modern environmental movement as it responded in a variety of ways to the crises of the industrializing world and called for environmental justice. Our case studies will be the ecopoetics of William Wordsworth and John Clare and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. We will then turn to consider the role of the environmental imagination in nineteenth-century colonial writing for global audiences, even as that writing often opposed globalization. Our readings in this section of the course will include Indigenous authors Jane Johnston Schoolcraft and E. Pauline Johnson, and selected settler colonial texts. We will examine the relationship between local and global forms of imagining the natural environment while also considering what these voices from the past might have to teach us about our present moment. Finally, we'll also read some recent texts that write back to the colonial legacy with a heightened environmental consciousness.


  • Participation 10%
  • Discussion Posts 15%
  • Essay One, 800 words 20%
  • Essay Two, 1,200 words 30%
  • Final Exam 25%



Mary Shelley Frankenstein, 1818, 3rd ed. Broadview
ISBN: 9781554811038

Tomson Highway, The Rez Sisters. Fifth House Publishers
ISBN: 978-0920079447

Emily St. John Mandel, Sea of Tranquility: A Novel. HarperCollins
ISBN: 9781443466097


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Department Undergraduate Notes:

IMPORTANT NOTE Re 300 and 400 level courses: 75% of spaces in 300 level English courses, and 100% of spaces in 400 level English courses, are reserved for declared English Major, Minor, Extended Minor, Joint Major, and Honours students only, until open enrollment begins.

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Registrar Notes:


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