Climate Emergency: Narrating the Environment and Writing the Wild

The details
Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies
Colchester Campus
Undergraduate: Level 5
Monday 13 January 2025
Friday 21 March 2025
18 March 2022


Requisites for this module



Key module for

BA PW38 Film and Creative Writing,
BA PW39 Film and Creative Writing (Including Placement Year),
BA PW88 Film and Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA PWH8 Film and Creative Writing (Including Year Abroad),
BA WW80 Drama and Creative Writing,
BA WW81 Drama and Creative Writing (Including Foundation Year),
BA WW82 Drama and Creative Writing (including Placement Year),
BA WW83 Drama and Creative Writing (including Year Abroad),
NONUYYM2 Cities of Dreams and Nightmares

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.

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

Anticipated teaching delivery: Weekly 2-hour seminar


This module does not appear to have a published bibliography for this year.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Critical or creative essay (3,000 words)    95% 
Coursework   Participation mark    5% 

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
100% 0%


Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr James Canton, email:
Dr James Canton
LiFTS General Office - email



External examiner

Dr Eleanor Perry
University of Kent
Lecturer in Creative Writing (Poetry)
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.


Further information

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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