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GM4070   Writing Nature: German Environmental Thought (1800 - 2000)

Academic year(s): 2019-2020

Key information

SCOTCAT credits : 15

ECTS credits : 7

Level : SCQF Level 10

Semester: 2

Availability restrictions: Not automatically available to General Degree students

Planned timetable: 3.00 pm Thu.

Environmental thought gathered momentum in the final quarter of the twentieth century impelled by the experience of the Oil Crisis of the 1970s and the publication of the UN Human Environment Report The Limits of Growth (1972). Faced with mounting evidence of scarce resources and environmental damage, industrialized societies were compelled to confront their assumptions about growth and development. Nowhere was this confrontation more intense than in the two Germanies, where environmental ideas chimed with a tradition of cultural criticism that stretched back to Weimar Classicism and to the Naturphilosophie of the German Romantics. In this module we shall study the intellectual sources of German environmentalism, paying particular attention to the role of literature in mediating representations of nature and human agency. How significant are representations of nature for our relationship to the environment? What role does literature have to play in communicating and reflecting upon environmental ideas? What are environmental aesthetics and environmental history? This module seeks to provide answers to these and other questions vital to understanding the pivotal function of culture in promoting the 'necessary unity' of mind and nature (Bateson).

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact: 2 seminars and 1 surgery hour.

Assessment pattern

As used by St Andrews: 2-hour Written Examination = 60%, Coursework = 40%

Re-assessment: 3-hour Written Examination = 100%


Module teaching staff: Dr A Cusack