Climate Emergency: Narrating the Environment and Writing the Wild

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The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Sunday 17 January 2021
Friday 26 March 2021
13 January 2020


Requisites for this module



Key module for


Module description

This module offers an exploration of the extent of writing on the environment, on landscape and the natural world in a time of increasing awareness of a global climate emergency. The module will be aimed at both literature and creative writing students and operate to act as an introduction to the MA Wild Writing.

A number of primary non-fiction and fiction texts will be selected for discussion in seminars. In addition there will be choice literatures of eco-critical writing and contemporary eco-political works such as the Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife and material by Extinction Rebellion.

The course will extol the virtues of the outdoor classroom -- extending learning beyond the seminar walls to explore the nature of Wivenhoe Park and through a field trip. Students will be encouraged to extend their knowledge in multidisciplinary ways to enhance their ability to analyse and write literatures of the environment.

Module aims

This module aims to expand students’ understanding of writing on the environment. Students will analyse the manner in which aspects of the environment have been written about, taking in a variety of voices and perspectives from traditional Romantic visions to eco-critical standpoints.

Aspects such as the climate emergency and the Sixth Mass Extinction will be directly discussed in the light of recent writing by nature writers, theorists and political activists.

Assessment will allow students to produce a critical essay, OR to write their own creative material on aspects of the natural world and the environment. The module will broaden students' understanding of a how to see and write the environment in a time of increasing global concern and focus on environmental issues.

Module learning outcomes

After successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

1. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of a range of environmental writing both fiction and non-fiction.

2. Demonstrate a critical understanding of and analyse the context in which these writers are working.

3. Understand and evaluate some of the key contemporary critical and eco-political approaches to climate change debates

4. Analyse and write on environment and landscape in a critical and persuasive way.

Module information


1. Introductions: Silent Spring, Rachel Carson (1962); Peoples Manifesto for Wildlife, Chris Packham et al. (2018); The Emergency, Extinction Rebellion (2019)

2. 'Thinking Like a Mountain': A Sand County Almanac, Aldo Leopold (1949)/ The Living Mountain, Nan Shepherd (1977); The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment, Tim Clark (2011).
3. Walking, H. D. Thoreau, (1851)

4. The Tree House, Kathleen Jamie (2004)/Surfacing, Kathleen Jamie (2019)

5. H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald (2014)

6. Writing Workshop

7. The Drowned World, J. G. Ballard (1962)/ The Overstory, Richard Powers (2019)

8. Field trip

9. The Hidden Life of Trees, Peter Wohlleben (2015)/ Underland, Robert Macfarlane (2019)

10. Conclusions

Learning and teaching methods

2 hour seminar


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
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Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff



External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

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