ENGL 430 A1: Studies in Theory: A Geopoetics of Habitat

S. Krotz

This course will introduce students to the theoretical and methodological approaches of ecocriticism and geocriticism, focusing specifically on their fertile points of intersection in the development of an ecological, place-based reading of ᐊᒥᐢᑿᒌᐚᐢᑲᐦᐃᑲᐣ (Amiskwacîwâskahikan) / Edmonton.

The "spatial turn" in the humanities (of which geocriticism is an expression) constitutes a multi-faceted elaboration of spatiality, dwelling, and mobility that opens our relationships not only to literary spaces, but also to our own stories and conceptions of place / here / home. Ecocriticism - particularly literary ecology and the methods of "habitat studies" - explores the ecological dimensions of both reading and our sense of place. Our readings in this seminar will range across these intersecting theoretical fields. After familiarizing themselves with them, students will deepen their engagement through the development of habitat studies projects focused on a space or species in our local environment. These projects will replace the final exam in this course. Students can also expect to spend considerable time outside in the river valley, especially in the first (warmer) part of the term.

Readings will draw from Gaston Bachelard's Poetics of Space, Keith Basso's Wisdom Sits in Places, Michel de Certeau's Practice of Everyday Life, Tim Ingold's Lines, Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass, Laurie Ricou's Arbutus/Madrone Files, Bertrand Westphal's Geocriticism, among others.