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Course Offerings

Course Evaluation Results

Course Details

Spring 2017-2018
* ENV 332 / ENG 437 (LA)   Graded A-F, P/D/F, Audit

Petrofiction

Ashley J. Dawson

We know that we must cease using fossil fuels with all due haste if the planet is to avert a climate catastrophe, and yet the odds of making this transition seem long. This is due not only to the political clout of Big Oil, but also to the ways in which oil saturates every aspect of life, from the clothes we wear to the food we eat. Yet neither the dazzling benefits nor the dramatic damages of this ubiquitous petroculture are evenly distributed. Surveying literature, film, music and the visual arts, this course renders the material and social circuits of petroculture visible that they might be better challenged and transformed.

Sample reading list:
Habila, Helon, Oil on Water
Mitchell, Timothy, Carbon Democracy
Munif, Abdelrahman, Cities of Salt
Negarestani, Reza, Cyclonopedia: Complicity with Anonymous Materials
Sinclair, Upton, Oil
Szeman, Imre, Fueling Culture

Reading/Writing assignments:
Approximately 100 pages of reading per week. Short writing assignments (250 words) nearly every week plus take home essay-based midterm and final seminar-length essay (approximately 15 pages).

Requirements/Grading:
Paper in lieu of Final - 30%
Take Home Mid term Exam - 30%
Oral Presentation(s) - 15%
Class/Precept Participation - 25%

Other information:
A great deal has been written about oil and geopolitics. Far less attention has focused on the ways in which the various forms of fossil fuels structure our aspirations and emotions. Ranging across a variety of disciplines - including literary studies, film, visual culture, political ecology, and the environmental humanities - this course will help students understand both the transnational material circuits of petroculture as well as the cultural imaginaries it helps conjure up.

Schedule/Classroom assignment:

Class numberSectionTimeDaysRoomEnrollmentStatus
43436 S01 01:30:00 pm - 04:20:00 pm Th   Lewis Library   117   Enrolled:10 Limit:15