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FREN 590

Novel Climates: Environmental Justice and the Politics of Reading

Tu 9:30am-12:00pm, Dey 209, Prof. Jessica Tanner ((jltanner@email.unc.edu)

This course examines 19th-21st-century French-language literature and culture through the lens of the environmental humanities. It introduces students to the major concepts, questions, and debates of this interdisciplinary field, which combines literary, cultural, geographical, political, historical, anthropological, and philosophical modes of analysis. That foundation will inform our study of a series of primary texts from the French-speaking world, including novels, poetry, theater, films, artworks, graphic novels, theory and criticism, digital media, and installations. Throughout the course, we will consider questions of environmental justice, including how colonialism, capitalism, racism, and historical events have shaped who is most vulnerable to planetary warming and other crises.

A series of other questions will guide our inquiry: how can literature and art help us reimagine the world, and our communities? How does the geological timescale of the Anthropocene change our approach to times and cultures that otherwise seem distant? How might literature and art help us envision new modes of connection and interconnection? How might reading and thinking in a second language help train our perception of climate and distributed agency? Our objective is not simply to see what the humanities can help us think, but also to see what humanistic inquiry can do in times of crisis.

Literary readings include works by authors such as Chateaubriand, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Zola, Flammarion, Verne, Robida, Camus, Chamoiseau, Glissant, Tadjo, and Darrieussecq; we will also read critical and theoretical texts by thinkers such as Serres, Verg├Ęs, Ferdinand, Audier, Keucheyan, Patel and Moore, Crist, Haraway, Tsing, Malm, Harney and Moten, Song, Shotwell, Yusoff, Lethabo-King, Gumbs, McKittrick, Todd, Simpson, Estes, Whyte, Clark and Szerszynski, Tuck and Yang, Sze, and Jue. Course is open to both undergraduates and graduate students.

*Taught in French.

Counts for FREN minor/major.

Support Team

Dorothea Heitsch
French Undergraduate Advisor
Ellen Welch
Advisor for French Graduate Studies
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Lauren Lisinski
Graduate Student Services Manager
Sheena Melton
Undergraduate Student Services Specialist