“It’s the end of the world 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?
Linnaeus University’s campus is located roughly 15 minutes with bicycle from the city centre. Campus is like a small society in its own right, with the university, student accommodation and student life all in one place. Everything happens on campus – here you become part of a creative knowledge environment and an eventful student life.
What will you find when exploring Växjö? There is a great selection of restaurants and cosy cafés. There is a large lake in the city centre, beautiful nature is always nearby. Many students enjoy the combination of the city centre in Växjö and life on campus. This is where your dream of the future begins!