Eng/ES 388, Spring 2012 (Princeton)

Introduction to Literature and the Environment

Environmental criticism is a rapidly emerging field of literary study that will be crucially important in upcoming decades, especially as our present environmental crisis unfortunately worsens. This course explores a range of works from modern environmental critics, beginning in the 1960s and ending with the ongoing explosion of interest in the field in the 21st century.

How would you describe the overall quality of the seminars? Please comment, as appropriate, on how well the instructor stimulated your curiosity and independent thinking, raised challenging questions, helped clarify course material, encouraged participation, and responded to students’ questions, opinions, and criticisms.

Average rating: 4.8 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ Lectures were fascinating. Ken always raised interesting questions in class and would recall and integrate comments students made in previous lectures.

♣♣♣♣♣ I absolutely loved the seminars conducted by Prof. Hiltner. I thought he did a fantastic job of raising interesting questions about the reading, responding to students’ ideas, and guiding discussions in ways that were illuminating and facile. He was a wonderful preceptor and professor.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner challenged every student to come up with his/her own ideas about the readings; the class was really tailored to be only about what the students thought, which was new and exciting for me especially since this class draws students from all kinds of different disciplines.

♣♣♣♣♣ These seminars were great. Ken was a fantastic mediator of discussion and always kept us interested for the full hour and a half.

♣♣♣♣♣ Prof. Hiltner is really great and got us thinking about the Environment in ways that we hand not thought before.

♣♣♣♣♣ They were great – discussions were high quality.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very good. Rather than having every class being dry lectures about the authors and reading he made an effort to allow discussions to develop naturally.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great discussion, Prof. Hiltner seems to know everything.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner stimulated curiosity and asked good questions in the seminars. He also provided useful backgrounds to each reading/argument which really helped me understand the context the authors were writing in.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner was excellent at running his seminar discussions. I’ve rarely seen a seminar so lively, with so many people paying attention and contributing.

♣♣♣♣ Interesting and engaging, good size class.

♣♣♣ We talked about the readings in class and discussed common themes and our thoughts on them. I learned a lot but thought it would have been more useful if the professor had prepared some guidelines for our discussions and asked us specific questions about concepts, rather than just allowing us to share random thoughts. Sometimes I felt like discussions were not very stimulating and could be quite repetitive. It seemed to be the most interesting when we would talk about a controversial topic like GMO plants, and people would really begin sharing their thoughts. Also I thought that discussions significantly improved when people were not surfing the web on their computers (the last day when we all went outside to class and had no choice but to participate).

Please comment on the overall quality of the course. What worked particularly well and in what ways might the course be improved?

♣♣♣♣♣ This course was one of the best ENV classes I’ve taken at Princeton. The readings gave a lot of food for thought, and discussion was well mediated.

♣♣♣♣♣ I thought this was a great course. I enjoyed the readings, the class discussions, the essays–I cannot think of a way that I would improve it.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great and interesting seminar – fascinating to approach literature and environment from secondary texts.

♣♣♣♣♣ This course was great. It forced me to consider environmental issues from the humanities, which is a rare practice. The small size of the course and seminar style facilitated close discussions and allowed us to get to know the professor and our classmates.

♣♣♣♣♣ This course was fantastic, and I’m so glad I took it. Thank you Prof. Hiltner for opening my eyes to a world of intriguing literature and perhaps a senior thesis topic.

♣♣♣♣♣ I really liked the set-up of the class. Maybe some more readings outside of the world of eco critics would have been helpful in understanding what kinds of contexts they were responding to.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner is still tweaking the reading list with out feedback. Once it’s finalized, the course will be nearly perfect.

♣♣♣♣♣ I learned a lot!

♣♣♣♣ Some of the readings could be more applicable to real-life issues, but otherwise the Professor is great and the course is well-run.