The Poetics of Sustainability: Race and the Environment

Summer 2019
Nick Sturm
ENGL 1102
Utilizing our WOVEN curriculum, this course will explore the intersections of race and the environment as urgent social, political, and ecological issues through the lens of poetry. By reading across a global lineage of poets, including writers and artists from Pakistan, India, Chile, Korea, Panama, Cuba, and the across the United States, students will learn about the historical and contemporary intersections of  race and environmental issues in order to create multimodal artifacts that engage with what we will refer to as a “poetics of sustainability.” One of the course’s primary questions will be: How do these writers and artists allow us to articulate a more equitable future for communities facing challenges related to racial injustice, inequity, environmental crises, and environmental racism? Additionally, where and how do issues of race and the environment overlap as we consider rhetorical strategies for articulating our questions, ideas, and solutions related to identity, nationality, nature, and culture? Course readings will include books or selections from poets, writers, and artists such Divya Victor, Bhanu Kapil, Jericho Brown, Raúl Zurita, Claudia Rankine, Amiri Baraka, Lorenzo Thomas, Brandon Shimoda, Myung Mi Kim, Fred Moten, Theresa Hak Cha, Ana Mendieta, LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, and Kehinde Wiley. In conjunction with these readings, students will visit The Center for Civil and Human Rights, volunteer on an urban farm in SW Atlanta that practices sustainable growing techniques, and attend a reading by a writer of color in Atlanta.
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