Eng/Es 122LE, Fall 2010

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)

♣♣♣♣♣ Would have been easier to follow the movies if they had been shown on consecutive days. Paragraph style lecture slides took some getting used to. Otherwise, great class! Very interesting material. Thank you!

♣♣♣♣♣ Very knowledgeable, made dense materials much more understandable. Showed the historical timeline of environmental awareness, a very intriguing pattern, I must say.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very good lectures, did everything possible to ensure students’ success.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very engaging lecture, wants his students to do well, doesn’t focus on nit-picky aspects of the class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very accessible. Well balanced between knowledge and communications.

♣♣♣♣♣ This was a very interesting class and I very much enjoyed the way Professor Hiltner presented the material. He did so in a way that was easy to understand.

♣♣♣♣♣ The instructor is very patient, professional and excellent. His view is clear and the course is very interesting. I love this course very much. Thank you!

♣♣♣♣♣ The course material was very interesting. I learned a lot from lecture and from the readings we were assigned.

♣♣♣♣♣ The class and readings were extremely interesting (except Chaucer). I really enjoyed the lectures, except they went too fast. The course opened up my mind to why we think the way we do and to the reality of our history and modern actions and thoughts. Professor Hiltner was a great lecturer!

♣♣♣♣♣ Thanks for a fun quarter! Had a good experience in this class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Really cares about the students and teaching. Exams are too specific. Large should be tested on vs. details.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor was bomb.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner was extraordinarily attentive to students’ involvement in the class, from constantly inviting (and addressing) questions in lecture to engaging students outside of class. Clear and thorough presentation of ideas, with willingness to incorporate new views from students.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner provided an interesting, engaging and refreshing view to a lit course. He was extremely well prepared, but also welcoming to opposing comments and questions. Although I am not an English major, his structuring of the class kept me interested and engaged the whole quarter. Wonderful professor!

♣♣♣♣♣ Overall, great course with really interesting subject matter. The materials presented were a bit difficult but lecture offered insight. Very knowledgeable and eloquent professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ Of 4 years at UCSB, he is by far the best professor I’ve ever had. He’s always amazing with lectures and always keeps my attention.

♣♣♣♣♣ One of the most engaging professors I have had at UCSB, never got sleep once. Makes his points incredibly clear and keeps in interesting by opening up the class to discussion. I was also amazed that he attempted to meet with everyone given the size of the class, truly cared about teaching and his students unlike many research professors at this fine institution.

♣♣♣♣♣ Dr. Hiltner should consider cage fighting. Excellent teacher – very thorough and engaging.

♣♣♣♣♣ Made a point of meeting all the students. Thorough answers to questions. Good lecture structure. Took suggestions seriously.

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken Hiltner is an outstanding professor! He knows what he is talking about and he is really passionate about the course. He is really organized and helpful!

♣♣♣♣♣ It would be really nice to read more contemporary literature. I understand the value of looking at the past, but I think students can engage better with more current texts. Readings like Varro could have been smaller so we could read more – we’d still get the point.

♣♣♣♣♣ It was clear that professor cared about and had a great respect for the students and their ideas. The course actually succeeded in teaching me what it was meant to.

♣♣♣♣♣ Interesting course, great professor!

♣♣♣♣♣ I would have liked to see more material on other environmental issues in literature, such as animals or the issue of cities, etc. Maybe another class about just that?

♣♣♣♣♣ I thought this was a great class and I really learned a lot.

♣♣♣♣♣ I thought I would hate the material, but after you explain the readings in lecture, they make so much more sense and are enjoyable. He is a really good lecturer and is very clear. Answers students’ questions thoroughly. I think the lecture slides are really good for reviewing for tests, but they are kind of dense. It’s a lot to read in lecture up on the screen. Bullet points might be better. Overall, loved the class.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really liked the class, it made my 1st quarter at UCSB enjoyable.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really enjoyed this course. It was very interesting. The readings, starting from the beginning of human written history all the way to recent works, gave me quite a new perspective of the environment and the way it has been portrayed. Lectures were very clean and thorough. Definitely one of the best English classes I have taken. Also, I liked being able to make my own topic for the papers. That made writing more fun!

♣♣♣♣♣ I cannot express how impressed I am with this course. Professor Hiltner is a truly exceptional professional – outstanding despite the breadth of the course. In terms of time period, he was very detailed.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great, engaging lecturer. Outlines/Powerpoints easily understandable. I really liked that he emailed us the PDF’s every week.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great range of readings. The readings and the course was structured in a logical, methodical way that developed well the ideas presented. Really appreciated the focus on New Historicism. This sort of analysis was really enjoyable to me as an English major jaded to a lot of the airy analysis and interpretation he’s used to.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great professor! Always well prepared and really cares about his students. Very open to discussion and always available to talk to, actually schedules appointments with all students to set feedback on improving the class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great professor – helpful slides, very open to student comments and questions, very fair papers and tests. Overall an enlightening class.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great class, loved discussions. Very smart class. Did not like all the pastoral works though.

♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent professor, the class was much better than I thought it would be. Thought provoking and radical.

♣♣♣♣♣ A truly excellent professor. The class had great readings and the professor did a wonderful job of covering them and answering questions. His love of teaching is evident and made the course one of the most enjoyable I’ve had at UCSB. It is also clear that he cares very much for the success of his students! I loved the course and professor Hiltner!

♣♣♣♣ This class was my favorite this quarter. I felt it really expanded my views and I enjoyed the literature we read. Thanks!

♣♣♣♣ The class was very informative – topics flowed well. One fantastic article to consider for the course is Robert Sapalsky’s “The Cultural Desert”

♣♣♣♣ Some of the reading was difficult to understand. He explains very well.

♣♣♣♣ Interesting lectures. Diverse subject matter.

♣♣♣♣ I would have preferred it if he didn’t read directly off the slides but the information was clear and concise. Thank you!

♣♣♣♣ I sincerely appreciate the courtesy of the instructor and his excellent ability to provide information without adding bias.

♣♣♣♣ I really liked how the class was organized and PDF’s were given every week. Professor Hiltner seems very knowledgeable and passionate about the subject. Never go to meet with him unfortunately due to schedule conflicts!

♣♣♣♣ I liked how we were given lecture slides in advance. It made taking notes easier and more organized. I thought his lectures were clear and thoughtful, they had good analysis and made the readings clearer.

♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed that were emailed lecture slides every week, but when the slides are read almost word for word, there seems little point to even come to lecture. The grading was fair and for the most part the class was interesting.

♣♣♣♣ He was very knowledgeable and organized which made it easy to follow along during lecture. He presented in a clear manner.

♣♣♣♣ Good course with interesting book selection. Too much Powerpoint would be my only complaint.

♣♣♣♣ Class very interesting and eye opening. Would never have analyzed the readings through an environmental perspective before taking this class.

♣♣♣ The predominant focus on white, male, western thinking really bothered me.

♣♣♣ The lectures were a little too much of him reading off the Powerpoint – which I appreciated because it made it easy to study but I felt like I gained little from attending class when I could have read it myself at home. The tests were also incredibly specific I felt the essay question was graded fairly.

♣♣♣ Lectures were very organized. I learned a lot this quarter. Great class!

♣♣♣ Lectures do not supplement slides. Lecture seems to be a review of information given in PDF’s. Course content was interesting.

Unrated. Super knowledgeable. Clear and well-spoken. Well prepared lectures and lecture slides. Fair tests and assignments. Only complaint is that I wish there was more in class discussion. Overall an excellent professor! One of the best I have had at UCSB.

Unrated. I really liked the material in this course and how you put lectures up in advance so we could print of out. Good choice in movies. Sometimes hard to hear you when in the back. Overall, good job!

Unrated. Professor Hiltner is a very inspiring lecturer. He thoroughly answered questions, was passionate about the subject matter, and provided interesting material and readings for the course and reader.

Unrated. It is hard to pay attention in class when the Powerpoint is read to you.

Unrated. I really enjoyed this course. I like Professor Hiltner as both a person and an instructor. He was really good at responding to students’ questions.

Unrated. Great teacher, interesting ideas.

Unrated. Great professor, answers and provokes questions.

Unrated. Great lecturer, very interesting material, interesting conclusions/interpretations of material, thought-provoking. Exams should focus more on themes and conclusions about the readings – knowing who wrote what is silly. I was hoping for more essay style themed essay exam questions.

Unrated. Great course! Interesting, clear lectures and understandable analysis of texts, even for a non-English major! Thanks!

Unrated. Excellent professor! His lectures were extremely easy to follow and were enjoyable to attend. Hiltner provides some great insight on the text we read that I wouldn’t have thought of before.

Unrated. Although I am a Math major, I found this course to be the most enlightening I’ve ever had. The teacher was very professional and reliable at the same time and the quality of the course has made an impact on me that I won’t forget.

Unrated. Absolutely extraordinary professor. I have yet to have a professor who cared enough to meet with every single student in his class until I had Professor Hiltner. Look forward to taking a class wit him again.