IRST 398AB / ENGL 359 AB: Ecocriticism in Irish Literature and Culture
By focusing on a wide range of Irish literary texts (from Bram Stoker, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, James Joyce, Patrick Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney, Eavan Boland, Kevin Barry, Anne Enright, Marina Carr, Claire Keegan, Bram Stoker and others) and cultural works (fiction, poetry, landscape writings, cartography, documentary films, photography, and media), this interdisciplinary course will explore environmental issues affecting Ireland. Students will be introduced to the concept of ecocriticism – broadly examining the relationships between literature, culture, and the physical environment – within the context of modern and contemporary Ireland. Although the ecological movement in literary studies has primarily been perceived as a North American phenomenon, this course examines how writers, poets, playwrights, and filmmakers have responded to environmental crises in Ireland, such as gas pipelines, peatland extraction, flooding, deforestation, and the privatization of water. Students will be introduced to various ecocritical theories – posthumanism, postcolonial ecocriticism, material ecocriticism, ecofeminism, petrocultures, and “cli-fi” (climate change fiction) – that are responses to the period in which human activities began to have a significant global impact on the earth’s geology and ecosystems. They will learn to interrogate these concepts and themes through varied Irish literary and cultural works.