Studies in Modern and Contemporary Lit

Adrienne Ghaly
Course #
ENGL 3500
Online Course?
CLAS Course
Days of the Week
Session I
Course Dates
May 20 to June 15
Course Times
1:00 pm to 3:15 pm

This course is part of the Summer Technology Sabbatical pilot program. More information about Technology Sabbatical classes can be found here

"Reading Climate and Humanitarian Crisis Fiction" explores contemporary global fiction as an antidote to encountering the effects of the climate crisis -- extreme weather, displacement, flooding -- primarily through social media, 'doomscrolling', and online discourses of climate despair. Students will examine the possibilities for fiction as a way in to engaging urgent planetary issues from climate displacement to climate-intensified conflict zones. This course has two aims: first, it explores whether long-form fiction can both build more durable engagement with the multiple crises arising from a warming planet; second, students will develop greater cognitive endurance for reading longer texts and participating in meaningful collective discussion in a seminar context. In this course, students will develop (or recover) techniques for increasing reading stamina (reading for longer, uninterrupted periods), stretch students’ abilities to read texts immersively (reading with different kinds of attention), and being intentional about different kinds of reading (skimming, reading for specific details, etc.). 

Consequently, students will not only practice close reading techniques that literature courses help develop, but also will discuss and practice different approaches to reading and asking what to read for in long-form literary texts. The class will periodically spend some time in class practicing different reading techniques and modes of reading, and then reflecting upon them.

Participants will commit to tech-free hours while engaged in reading and writing for class, silencing notifications, and refraining from using phone apps, social media, text/chat and messaging, email, etc.