GER190-000: Freshman Seminar


August 27, 2014 - December 9, 2014
DaysTimeLocationInstructorGERCreditOPUS #
1:00pm - 2:15pm
Cox Computer Classroom - 230B
Schaumann, Caroline
Appropriate for First Year students.

In-depth treatment of a topic in language, literature, or culture.

This course counts toward the Emory Sustainability Minor

An investigation into the functioning of the natural world in cultural documents is vital to a critical and historical understanding of current debates on climate change, pollution, urban development, and other forms of nature-culture interactions. Addressing the growing need for environmental awareness in an international humanities curriculum, this seminar introduces students to environmental issues in both North American and German literature and film. We will explore how writers have understood and written about their environments historically, and how these depictions of nature have come to influence current attitudes and understandings of the non-human world.  Rather than accept a certain type of landscape as backdrop or metaphor for human emotions and actions, we discuss the staging of the non-human world as a central element to story and plot.

Specifically, we will examine various tropes in which humans have attempted to approach and understand nature.  This course is thus structured according to thematic units on the Anthropocene (our current geologic era marked by human impact), the myth of pastoral nature, the “trouble with wilderness,” environmental damage and catastrophes, animal studies, and food studies.  Using the tools of textual analysis, we will examine how culture and literature engage past and present political, environmental, and economic issues.

  1. Henry David Thoreau
  2. Greg Garrard
  3. David Abram
    Becoming Animal
  4. Jon Krakauer
    Into the Wild
  5. Adalbert Stifter
Assignment/ExamDetails% of Total Grade
Creative project10
Attendance and class performance 20
Final Exam 15
Unannounced quizzes on readings and films10
EssaysThree Essays (15% each)45

The schedule of courses on O.P.U.S. is the official listing of courses, including days and times they meet and the General Education Requirements they satisfy. Students should use course descriptions as general guidelines. Course requirements, grading details, book lists, and syllabi are subject to change.