Eng 22, Fall 2013

Introduction to Literature and the Environment

This course is an environmental survey of Western literature. In much the same way that feminist critics are interested in literary representations of gender and women, environmental critics explore how nature and the natural world are imagined through literary texts. As with changing perceptions of gender, such literary representations are not only generated by particular cultures, they play a significant role in generating those cultures. Thus if we wish to understand our contemporary attitude toward the environment, its literary history is an excellent place to start. While authors such as Thoreau and Wordsworth may first come to mind in this context, literary responses to environmental concerns are as old as the issues themselves. Deforestation, air pollution, endangered species, wetland loss, animal rights, and rampant consumerism have all been appearing as controversial issues in Western literature for hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of years. Starting with an excerpt from one of the West’s earliest texts, The Epic of Gilgamesh, this course will explore the often-ignored literary history of the natural world.

“Please rate the overall quality of the instructor’s teaching”

Average rating: 4.6 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed the course. The material covered was very extensive. Professor Hiltner is very knowledgeable on the subject. I felt I learned so much. The online materials were amazing and the resources available helped out so much with study.

♣♣♣♣♣ Thoroughly enjoyed this course. Material was concise and clear. Gained a whole new perspective on human interaction with the environment. Professor Hiltner is one of the most intelligent people I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to 🙂

♣♣♣♣♣ LOVED the online sections, lectures, and your presentations.

♣♣♣♣♣ Thank you for such a thought-provoking and interesting class! This is an excellent class and I enjoyed it very much. One of the best lecturers ever!

♣♣♣♣♣ Great lecturer. Classes are a tad long and dry, but his lecturing skills more than makes up for it.

♣♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed the course very much! Lectures were more interesting than I expected and challenged a lot of my ideas.

♣♣♣♣♣ Amazing!

♣♣♣♣♣ Very passionate, very prepared and always evoked thoughtful discussions. Highly recommended!!

♣♣♣♣♣ Lectures are great, as are the Prizi presentations. Online sections worked well, but there should be another time required for students to come back and respond to peers.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor is very knowledgeable about topics. His passion is evident and he is very good at encouraging discussion from students. He also does a good job connecting with students by remembering their names.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great at going into detail. Always asked if we have questions. Very knowledgeable. Easy to talk to. Overall, a wonderful professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ I loved this class!

♣♣♣♣♣ I appreciated that you said that everyone’s comments were “great” and that they made “great points,” even if they didn’t seem to be so. It made me more inclined to speak up.

♣♣♣♣♣ I just think that something needs to be done to promote discussion in the online sections. Otherwise, it’s perfect.

♣♣♣♣♣ The presentation of the information was great. I was always excited to come to class and I feel as though I learned a lot.

♣♣♣♣♣ Really cool! Maybe have an option to set reminders for online section posts because I would always forget.

♣♣♣♣♣ I very much enjoyed your class and would recommend it.

♣♣♣♣♣ Perhaps the formatting of the class itself could have been augmented. Sections could’ve been integrated better into lecture. Overall, I found the content inspiring and informative.

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken Hiltner, as an individual, is one of considerable virtue. Respecting all students and questions, being well prepared, a clear speaker, and a plethora of other traits made him a great professor to teach this invaluable course.

♣♣♣♣♣ Section was more of an assignment than discussion.

♣♣♣♣♣ The class just needs to be more engaging. You did great, Professor! :)

♣♣♣♣♣ Middle English readings were extremely difficult – a reading guide would have been helpful. Also your (professor) regulation / comments on offensive blog posting from students would be nice

♣♣♣♣ I very much liked the content of this course. The professor was knowledgeable and experienced at this. I think you should keep Hesiod and Virgil. I agree that it provides a platform on which to understand the other concepts. I disliked the super-long poems like Upon Appleton House. I thought one sample of that type of poem was enough.

♣♣♣♣ I really did not enjoy the online section. I did not put in as much work and did not need to. I consistently forgot about them, and, worst of all, did not learn from them. In-person sections are much more enlightening, and I feel help the students more. Other than that, I really enjoyed this class.

♣♣♣♣ A little monotonous and boring, but interesting and easy to understand.

♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed the class, but found it a little boring at times and it would be great to change it up a little throughout the quarter. Perhaps readings that are more easy-to-understand would also be beneficial.

♣ I was consistently bored to tears. But seriously, by the hour and a half, with 30 minutes to go, I would get uncomfortably bored. I understand that some students got something positive out of the course, but, I made a huge mistake taking this class.