Eng 22, Fall 2015

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: 4.5 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ Overall, this class was my favorite that I have taken at UCSB so far. Additionally, I believe that Professor Hiltner is one of the best professors here at UCSB. He is very passionate about the subject and extremely knowledgeable. The lectures were always interesting and the reading material were thought provoking. The course challenged my conceptions about my beliefs towards the environment and made me think more critically.

♣♣♣♣♣ This course was very eye-opening, and it made me more aware about the world, not only environmentally but also socially. I enjoyed learning about environmentalism in the past since I was never aware that the movement even existed in the “older” times. Thank you. P.S. Your voice is super soothing.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great class! I liked how the slides were online I also greatly enjoyed the readings. I wish that there was a follow-up class. You did an excellent job of responding to everyone’s questions with thoughtful responses. I liked how you encouraged discussions and questions. You also have a nice voice!

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken Hiltner is extremely knowledgeable on the subject of Environmental change and climate crisis and how the environment has been perceived through time in Western thought. I highly recommend taking his course as it greatly challenges its audience to open their minds in response to our ever changing environment.

♣♣♣♣♣ I have never had a professor so devoted and enthusiastic about a subject, thank you for a great experience.

♣♣♣♣♣ I would have laughed at the idea that analyzing literature from thousands of years ago would have prompted me to consider veganism and approaching environmental issues with a more holistic knowledge. This class should be a mandatory component of getting a general education. Truly invaluable.

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken Hiltner is my favorite professor at UCSB. I have always loved to read and after taking this class, I have been able to merge my two favorite things- reading and nature (literature and the environment!). Thank you Professor, I loved it! I look forward to pursuing further the relationship we humans have with the environment.

♣♣♣♣♣ This was the first English class I’ve taken at UCSB and I loved it. Analyzing the environment via literature was something I’ve never considered before. Thank you for being such a dynamic and engaging professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ I personally believe this class has been very influential in shaping my views on the environment and a new perspective while the material has been excellent and easily understandable.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great professor! Clearly knows his stuff in depth and is invested in environmental courses. Has a very limited knowledge of Africa, however, and I would appreciate if he refrained from generalizing about Africa in future lectures. Really great class though; opened my eyes to a lot of environmental issues that I did not know existed.

♣♣♣♣♣ Instructor is very animated, interesting, and fair in his teaching and grading. The readings are mostly interesting with some drier pieces that it would benefit going over more during lecture. Loved the class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Superb.

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken is such a great professor, very passionate about the material. Willing to answer student questions unrelated to material but still remained engaged.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very passionate, great guy. 10/10 100% A+

♣♣♣♣♣ This class has opened my eyes on the environment and our views today.

♣♣♣♣♣ I intentionally thought the class was going to be boring. However, I enjoyed the class and learned new info about the environment. Fun class, great instructor, and lots of great info. Thank you K.H!

♣♣♣♣♣ Fun, great lecturer. I avoided my English GE all five years at UCSB but I must say this class was bearable. I don’t enjoy English classes, but I enjoyed this course. Professor knows how to lecture and keep students engaged. But at times it was hard to pay attention since it’s an hour and forty-five minutes long. I think it would b e best if he wore a microphone because if you sit all the way in the back it can be hard to hear at times.

♣♣♣♣♣ The course is really interesting! One of my favorite professors at UCSB.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is a great instructor and if you have some interest in literature and climate change, then this course offers an interesting an interesting new perspective.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very interesting. Great intro and all encompassing course for Lit. and the environment specializations. Liked very much that the “section” time was included into the lecture. Rather than having separate fifty minute sections with a T.A. Made things more convenient. Would have to cover some Clare poems, such as “The Lament of Swardy Well” thought it would have made an interesting contribution to other readings.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is obviously passionate about the course topic and teaches very efficiently.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very interesting subject matter. Important info, enthusiastic teaching methods. Encourages a lot of discussion.

♣♣♣♣♣ Enthusiastic about course material.

♣♣♣♣♣ Good instruction, answers questions very well and brought up interesting points I never thought about before.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner made the class somewhat interesting with his extensive knowledge and good delivery, but the subject of the course itself was quite boring and the readings were awful.

♣♣♣♣♣ I do not like how everything we read is somehow connected to the environment, although that is what the course is about.

♣♣♣♣♣ The readings were a little dense and hard to get through at times. Although the lectures were interesting and made the understanding of the topics easier.

♣♣♣♣♣ Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this course (the information presented and especially the means by which the professor presented the information.) The professor facilitated class discussion, which I really appreciated, as I found it easy to discuss my thoughts and delve deep into the useful material/information.

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent course, thought provoking

♣♣♣♣♣ Very passionate, made material interesting. Definitely made an impact on my views and actions

♣♣♣♣♣ Great/informative class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Awesome!

♣♣♣♣♣ One of my favorite professors at UCSB!

♣♣♣♣♣ Best professor I’ve had!

♣♣♣♣♣ Passionate and knowledgeable. Knows everyone’s name.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great course. If this class is any indication of how future classes at UCSB will be like, I know I’m going to have a great education.

♣♣♣♣♣ Two hour course is a bit long. Perhaps three fifty-minute class sessions would be better.

♣♣♣♣♣ Nice teacher.

♣♣♣♣♣ Not much to complain about, but lectures can be a lit monotone and drag on. Overall, an easy, fair class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great class, great enthusiasm, no weaknesses. Thank you, Professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great class, but I find it extremely ironic that the reader was a massive waste of paper.

♣♣♣♣♣ Really interesting variety of texts covered. Liked the online assignment format, lectures were always engaging.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very great teacher. Very passionate about the material and it made the experience great. The material was very interesting and will recommend this class/professor to my peers.

♣♣♣♣♣ Interesting, thought provoking material/lectures. I wish Prof. Hiltner would leave the slides up longer/go slower.

♣♣♣♣♣ Informative lectures, good choice of readings. Overall, great.

♣♣♣♣♣ Wish I could’ve attended all lectures.

♣♣♣♣ I generally liked the course, some material felt repetitive in my opinion.

♣♣♣♣ Really great material, made me see things in a new light. My only complaint would be the online sections. I didn’t really get anything from them, they seemed more like busy work. Would have preferred discussion section to talk about material.

♣♣♣♣ Interesting approach to unexpected works. Some I found not as relevant as others.

♣♣♣♣ Nice.

♣♣♣♣ Very long class.

♣♣♣♣ Interesting topic and lecturer.

♣♣♣♣ Ken Hiltner’s lectures were insightful though some of the readings less than interesting or enlightening.

♣♣♣♣ Easy class to understand environmental issues.

♣♣♣♣ Sometimes went through lecture slides too quickly to read them/write everything down, but great class and great professor other than that : )

♣♣♣♣ Yeet.

♣♣♣♣ Lectures had a plethora of information that was dictated efficiently and magnificently by Professor Hiltner.

♣♣♣♣ Topics are interesting, lectures are a little slow, but still work well. I would prefer the class in a MWF 1 hour or MW 1 hour, F 2 hour type format. Wish more of class would participate.

♣♣♣♣ I respect this guy so much for making an easy class. It really is a good way to promote intrinsic motivation and interest in the subject. It’s a little boring at times though because lectures go pretty slow.

♣♣♣♣ I found that the course focused too much on the pastoral, and the periods before the 18th century. It would be nice to have read some contemporary literature. Otherwise I found Professor Hiltner to be very engaging, and I enjoyed class immensely.

♣♣♣♣ Great professor. Loved the material

♣♣♣♣ Ken is a good lecturer, although sometimes boring. The class is overall worth taking

♣♣♣ Presentation pace varies wildly.

♣♣♣ Good professor, if a tad dull. Rather dry worse material. Fair exams and grading procedures.

Unrated Amazing lecturer. Ken Hiltner is extremely passionate and knowledgeable and presents the material in a way that’s interesting and engaging. I appreciate all that I have gained from this course. P.S. great readings.

Unrated I absolutely loved this class! As a biology major I was worried this class was going to be boring and dry, but it was just the opposite. The material was interesting and the way the material was presented made me excited to learn. Professor Hiltner is a great lecturer and I thoroughly enjoyed the class!

Unrated Really liked how available you were to see me and work things out about my grade. Topics of the class were interesting to listen to.

Unrated, It was very long. Cut back the time or the section.

Unrated Great class, however, professor is monotone and the class can get boring.