“It’s the end of the world as we know it”.
The catchy words of indie rock band R.E.M. from the late 80s have turned out to be a prophetic description of a widespread feeling in our contemporary crisis-prone culture. However, if the “end of the world” in the 80s referred to the nuclear threat or perhaps AIDS as a global epidemic, contemporary dystopic thinking lean on the unanimous description from natural scientists that have declared that a planetary ecological disaster is imminent unless dramatic changes will be made in the human-nature relation on a global level. If not, with the dramatic title of a recent essay by Roy Scranton, we must now learn how “to die in the Anthropocene”.
In this course the dramatic ecological crisis, including the present and future effects of global warming, will be understood from a humanities perspective, but with a background in the natural scientific findings. The course offers a historical perspective on the idea of ecology and ecological crisis, and we will initially read a standard natural scientific article describing some of the facts behind what has been called the current Anthropocene epoch. Students will explore the relation between natural science and the humanities through a thorough analysis of aesthetic representations of scientific facts and arguments. The main objective of this course is to provide an extensive understanding of the ecological crisis as it is being represented in a number of aesthetic forms, including graphic novels, documentaries, feature films, poetry and science fiction and fantasy novels. Theoretically, the course combines two theories from the humanities: ecocriticism on the one hand and intermedial studies on the other. Ecocriticism investigates humankind’s interaction with nature as this is represented in literature (and, more recently, in other arts and media). Intermedial studies are interested in how different art forms and media combine with each other, and how content can be transferred from one media type to another (for instance in a film adaptation). Unique for this course is the ambitious attempt to combine two fields that are normally not combined, and to approach perhaps the most pressing issue of today’s world: how can we think and live in a world which is being made uninhabitable by ourselves?
Roughly 15 minutes with a bike from the city centre, you will find Linnaeus University’s campus. It is like a small society with the university, student accommodation, and student life. Here you become part of a creative knowledge environment.
What will you come across on an excursion in Växjö – the city of contrasts? You will find good restaurants, a celebrated hockey team, and cozy cafés where you can enjoy a latte with lingonberry flavour. In Växjö, beautiful nature is always just around the corner; the city is surrounded by lakes and forests. Students like the combination of the city centre and the active student life on campus. Your dream of the future starts here!