English

Going Green: Literature and Film

Kris Terwelp, Senior Lecturer

Course: ENGLISH 192, SEM 005
Class Number: 38903
Credits: 3 HU
Time: MW 3:30 – 4:45 PM
Place: CRT 321

Course Description:

Which movie won Al Gore an Academy Award? How can you lower your carbon footprint? What the heck is a carbon footprint anyway? Why should you “Curb Your Enthusiasm” for trucks and SUVs and drive a hybrid car instead? Why is Ed Begley Jr.’s house so cool? Should you care about global warming? This course will help you answer these questions and will likely have you asking many more by the end of the term. The “Green” movement in the United States has not only become very visible in recent years, but it has also become big business. So what is all the “Going Green” hype about? What do terms like global warming, eco-lifestyle, and global sustainability really mean? Can Americans be both high tech consumers and ecologically conscientious? In this course, we will trace the history of the “Green” movement beginning with texts by Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and several Native American writers and ending with films and texts by Wendell Berry, Annie Dillard, and Al Gore. We will also examine “green” advertising and do some virtual window shopping at a “green” Wal-Mart. That’s right, even Wal-Mart had joined the “Green” movement.

Work Involved:

This course is designed to help students find and use the many resources available at the university. With this in mind, students will be required to write a 5-7 page research paper which will be due during the second half of the semester. The class will be visiting the library at least once early in the semester to help students in this endeavor. We will also visit the Peer Mentoring Center and the Writing Center. Because this is a student-centered course, once the research papers are completed, students will have the opportunity to share their work with the class. In other words, the students’ work will become an integral part of the course material. Students will also be responsible for daily class readings and bringing discussion questions to class based on those readings. They will also write short response papers (1-2 pages) to the films we watch.

Sample Reading:

Films: An Inconvenient Truth; Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price; Into the Wild

Texts: Henry David Thoreau, Walden; Rachel Carson, Silent Spring; Paul Hawken, Blessed Unrest; Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek; Terry Tempest Williams, Refuge; Wendell Berry, A Timbered Choir

About the Instructor:

Kristin Terwelp received her Ph.D. in English from UWM where she has taught composition, literature, and creative writing for the English Department for the past 13 years. She is a poet and has published her poetry in a number of literary journals throughout the country. Her scholarly interests include women's literature, gender studies, nineteenth-century American literature, and Native American literature. As a first-generation college student and a woman from a working-class family, she is particularly interested in the roles working women have played in American literature.