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ENGL 3060 Modern and Contemporary Literature for Nonmajors


Darin Graber, Ph.D.

E-mail: Darin.Graber@Colorado.Edu


Modern and contemporary literature consistently examines humankind’s history of exploring for, extracting, and consuming natural resources while transforming topographical features and geographies toward human use, just as it investigates and imagines the troublesome outcomes for people, land, water, and climate that follow in their aftermath. Because environmental degradation, public health crises, and the despoliation of natural resources on which human communities and economies depend occur across the planet, literature concerned with these issues appears globally. This course will present a range of American and Global literature in English that engages such problems. In the forms of narrative nonfiction, fiction, drama, and poetry, it attempts to:

  • Reckon the consequences—temporary and permanent, reversible and irreversible, past and future—of human interactions with the environment for ecological and human health, as in John D’Agata’s nonfiction work, About a Mountain, or Chantal Bilodeau’s play, Sila.
  • Understand, critique, or reimagine the human social and political systems that develop around economies of ecological extraction, pollution, and/or preservation, as do Upton Sinclair’s King Coal and Helon Habila’s Oil on Water.
  • Envision futures for a humankind that has transformed, consumed, polluted, or otherwise degraded its living environment, as in sci-fi novels by Phillip K. Dick and Margaret Atwood.

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