Environment and Citizenship: Cultures of Nature in the Iberian Peninsula

Syllabus

This course examines the role of nature and the environment in both contemporary literature and the arts in the Iberian Peninsula, and attempts to explore a conceptual framework for the definition of environment as a cultural and material production.

This course examines the role of nature and the environment in both contemporary literature and the arts, and attempts to explore a conceptual framework for the definition of environment as a cultural and material production. Environmental peculiarities and historical discontinuities and continuities have created social and political conjunctures in the Iberian Peninsula in which questions concerning nature, space, landscape, and urban and rural experiences have become central to the cultural and the critical imagination in the 20th & 21st Centuries. From the debate over the privatization and erosion of communal rights and the environmental dispossession (and repossession) of the resources to the history of the constructions of nature(s) in literary and cinematic landscapes, the guiding question is how cultural and social practices interfere in the production of what Rob Nixon has called ‘slow violence’, that is, the incremental dynamics of environmental violence that intensify the vulnerability of populations and natural ecosystems. To address this issue, we will not only read a number of novels, essays, poems, short stories and theoretical production, but also engage in the study of artwork and new Iberian democratic experiences, and the development of the cultural environmental studies and ecocriticism in literature and the arts today. The class will be conducted in Spanish and all written assignments will also be in that language.

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