Eng 122EN, Winter 2009

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. This course satisfies the requirements of the Undergraduate Specialization in Literature and the Environment (USLE) and is cross-listed with the Environmental Studies Department.

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

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

♣♣♣♣♣ Amazingly interesting material. Great organization to the term. Highly stimulating and thought provoking. As an anti-treehugger, I’m glad I took the course.

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent class and teacher, a very unique subject that I definitely came to understand and love. Best part of class was Goldsworthy’s art. Critique: Too many readings, especially in the second half. Found it difficult to keep up and really get into each work.

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent lectures (the best I’ve ever had). Emailing the slides in advance made them so much more beneficial.

♣♣♣♣♣ Good way to analyze nature from a different perspective.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great course.

♣♣♣♣♣ The class really made me more environmentally aware. Ken Hiltner is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had.

♣♣♣♣♣ The clarity of Professor Hiltner’s lectures is certainly unsurpassed, as his lecturing is like reading a well-written essay. Information presented clearly, though I do prefer tests that are more than 50% essay based. But it’s all good. Great turtlenecks.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great lecture style and use of PowerPoint. The emailed slides are much appreciated.

♣♣♣♣♣ I absolutely loved this class. I’m sad it’s over! The material was fascinating! Professor Hiltner did a wonderful job conveying the conditions of the environment and human attitudes through literature. I have definitely developed a strong environmental consciousness that now affects my daily actions. I only to be able to convey what I have learned to others. I am so glad that I ended my college career with such a fabulous class and instructor that will continue to impact me for hopefully the rest of my life.

♣♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed the format of the class and the organization of lecture. I especially like that you simplified PowerPoint slides because I don’t have internet and I had to write a lot of it down. Thank you!

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed the class overall. It was interesting to read literature about the environment spanning such a lengthy timeline.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed the class. I thought it was great! The lectures were very interesting and easy to understand while being well-organized. I felt well-prepared for all exams and papers, and having the slides send around before lectures helped with studying and taking notes. Thanks, good job!

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this class – it has been one of my favorite English classes at UCSB. Good lecturer with good visual presentations (movies, audio, pictures). Also, I really liked that the choice of movies really pertained to our class. Thanks Professor Hiltner!

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this class and Professor Hiltner. The Andy Goldsworthy film and images were amazing! I also thought all the pieces were very relevant and the class flowed really well. He was a pleasure!

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this class, it helped open my eyes to all the destruction humans are causing the environment. I loved Professor Hiltner’s insight and his turtlenecks.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really like Professor Hiltner. The class was really interesting and he made it easy for non-English majors to follow along. I would definitely take another class with him.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really liked how meshed literature and controversial ecological issues are but some of the reading was just deathly boring. Maybe focus more on contemporary works next time?

♣♣♣♣♣ I truly enjoyed this class. Professor Hiltner is amazingly intelligent and a great lecturer. Emailing the lecture slides is very helpful and you still need to go to class to know everything. I absolutely loved learning about Andy Goldsworthy. Thanks so much!

♣♣♣♣♣ Incredibly insightful and thought provoking. Challenged me to consider my impact on the world.

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken Hiltner is a great lecturer. Easy to follow, especially since I am not an English major or minor. The course made me examine literature in a way I never had before that is not only relevant to my major, but relevant to current global issues.

♣♣♣♣♣ Lecture was very organized and effective. The file and lecture outline was sometimes sent too late for students to print. But overall, great professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ Lectures well structured and easy to follow, excellent materials for the subject matter.

♣♣♣♣♣ One of my favorite courses. Professor Hiltner was one of the best lecturers I’ve ever had!

♣♣♣♣♣ One of my favorite courses. Professor Hiltner was one of the best lecturers I’ve ever had!

♣♣♣♣♣ Organized. Clear central thesis, relevant, in-depth examination of an oft-overloaded field of study. Thank you, Professor Hiltner.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner and this class were amazing. I loved the films, the way the PDF’s were done, I thought the midterm was fair, I liked the freedom given with paper topics, etc. My only critique would be how backloaded the class was with Walden and Silent Spring in the last 2 weeks – kind of an unrealistic reading load.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is a great lecturer and very knowledgeable. His lectures were very interesting and engaging and the emails with the lecture slides in PDF form were extremely helpful!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner was very organized. The only thing I didn’t like was how many PDF’s there were to print out. This is supposed to be an environmental class!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor, you are a great lecturer! Never a dull moment in class existed J Your reading selections were great and I enjoyed reading them all! Keep up the great work!

♣♣♣♣♣ Environmental issues can seem overwhelming in discussions with other students. So much of what we learned about environmental crises seems overwhelming and desperately impossible to overcome. I would recommend including a text in the series that gives students tangible tools to work with that empower them to feel they can dismantle the problems piece by piece.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very good lecturer and easy to outline presentations. This class surpassed my expectations.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very organized and knowledgeable. Love, love, love Andy Goldsworthy.

♣♣♣♣ Good class because it challenged my beliefs and strengthened them.

♣♣♣♣ Great orator with such an eloquent presence. Makes lectures interesting and appealing. Knowledgeable and straightforward with the course material.

♣♣♣♣ His lecture is based on his PDF’s and the PDF’s made it much easier to take notes in class. PDF’s were really useful for me, when I don’t really understand the articles and poems from the reader.

♣♣♣♣ I thought the material and lectures were of good quality, and I found it very useful that we were given the lecture slides ahead of time. The tests, though, were ridiculous. What kind of English class has fill-in-the-blank questions?! Please!

♣♣♣♣ Really good lectures, especially slides. Sometimes felt that he tried to cram too much into the lecture and really didn’t go into much detail.

♣♣♣♣ The class made me aware of our involvement in nature, that I had never realized before. I now want to become involved in change this behavior. Thank you.

♣♣♣♣ The course material was very interesting and in-depth. It is very relevant to our own lives and stimulates independent thinking. I enjoyed this course.

♣♣♣♣ This course was really interesting. I like some of the readings. I liked the way the professor did the lectures.

♣♣♣♣ Very good and interesting course. I liked the lectures, they were always clear and comprehensive.

♣♣♣♣ Was able to understand the readings once explained in lecture and read PowerPoint’s.

♣♣♣ I personally didn’t find this course interesting at all.

♣♣♣ It was an eye opening course. It really charted out the progression of human attitudes toward nature J

♣♣♣ The class needs to focus on more modern stuff, that’s what people are interested in.

Unrated I enjoyed the class very much, Dr. Hiltner. Thank you.

Unrated Loved the professor! I felt the class was very interesting! And all material/tests/papers were fair. This class convinced me to really look into being an English major with a specialization in Literature and the Environment.

Unrated Class was fun. I learned a lot and became very environmentally aware. Too much reading! Tests are fair. Grading is fair and the Professor was engaging. Slides were helpful.