Spring 2024

Transpacific Ecologies and Narratives

Listed in: English, as ENGL-474


Nozomi Nakaganeku Saito (Section 01)


This course examines the relationship between narrative and ecology in the transpacific.
“Ecology” as a field of scientific study concerns the “relationships between people, social
groups, and their environment” (OED). Throughout the course, we will reflect on how structures of settler colonialism, militarism, and racial capitalism impact ecologies and the relationships between people, communities, and non-human lives. While centering Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander cultural productions, our readings will draw broadly from environmental and Indigenous studies. We’ll consider questions such as: How does narrative shape or reflect how we relate to the environment in ways that are racialized and gendered? What is the role of the writer or artist in addressing climate catastrophe? And can literature and art transform our relations with the more-than-human agents with whom we inhabit shared ecologies? From the afterlives of nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands to the desecration of land and ancestral graves in the militarization of Okinawa, environmental harm has not gone uncontested. In the words of Marshallese poet Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, artists have shown there are many ways of “writing the tide” towards environmental justice (“Two Degrees”). Writers and artists may include Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner, Teresia Teaiwa, Minoli Salgado, Viet Thanh Nguyen, An-My Lê, Grace Mera Molisa, Déwé Gorodé, and Tsuyoshi Shima. In addition to literary analysis, students will work with archival materials to develop their independent research projects.

Limited to 25 students. Spring semester. Professor Saito.

How to handle overenrollment: Preference given to English majors

Students who enroll in this course will likely encounter and be expected to engage in the following intellectual skills, modes of learning, and assessment: literary analysis, independent research, and collaborative research projects. This course welcomes students interested in creative or hybrid projects.

ENGL 474 - LEC

Section 01
Tu 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM WEBS 217
Th 10:00 AM - 11:20 AM WEBS 217


Other years: Offered in Fall 2013, Spring 2016