The concept of wilderness--and the related category of the wild--has proved a central imaginative paradigm for much of the environmental literature produced in and about the United States and Canada since the time of European settlement. By examining a varied selection of ecologically minded texts, this seminar explores how and why writers have argued for particular understandings of the concepts of wilderness and wild. Drawing on nature writing in several genres, the course further explores the social, political, and cultural issues at stake in these contested definitions. Among the questions the course considers: Is wilderness a useful conceptual category for current ecocritical analysis, or is it fraught with excess ideological baggage? Is wild a more productive concept for a critical practice that might inform effective resistance to current environmental degradation? How do wild and wilderness intersect with the familiar critical issues of race, gender, and colonial legacy? Affiliate department: English.
Prerequisites: SSI2 enrollment requires completion of SSI1 seminar