Difference between revisions of "2021-22 AM Natural History in Contemporary Fiction"

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*'''Venue:''' A13 0-028
 
*'''Venue:''' A13 0-028
  
*'''Course Description''': Contemporary perspectives on natural history are most perceptible in museums of natural history. Contemporary fiction, too, explores this historically specific interest in nature, once which precedes the scientific method. Natural history is linked to individual representatives like Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin or Henry David Thoreau, as much as to societies of natural history. In this seminar, we will trace various contemporary perspectives on the enthusiasm of naturalists but also questions of gender, imperial complicity, and claims of objectivity. We will start by looking at the history of natural history and the distinction between natural history and science. We will read examples of narratives written by natural historians and then proceeds by reading fictional narratives written in the twenty-first century about naturalists in the 20th century. We will examine continuities and discontinuities between this interest and the focus on Victorian naturalists in neo-Victorian fiction; the role of the explorer subject; their travel adventures and descriptions of landscapes, flora and fauna from Alaska to the South Pacific to South America.  
+
*'''Course Description''': Contemporary perspectives on natural history are most perceptible in museums of natural history: collections of fossils, stuffed birds and animals, biographies of the men, and less frequently women, whose findings are on display. Thus, the history of natural history is linked to individual representatives like Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin or Henry David Thoreau, as much as to the founding of societies of natural history, as well as the age of exploration, imperial travel, colonial entanglements of knowledge, trade and military. Contemporary fiction, too, explores this historically specific interest in nature, one which precedes and is often placed in contrast with the scientific method later found in field biology or ecology. In this seminar, we will read a selection of fictional stories of naturalists and trace contemporary perspectives on the enthusiasm of naturalists but also on questions of gender, imperial complicity, and claims of objectivity. We will start by looking at the history of natural history and the often hazy distinction between natural history and science. We will read examples of narratives written by natural historians from the 19th century, as well as fictional narratives written in the twenty-first century about naturalists in the 20th century. We will examine continuities and discontinuities between a more recent interest in natural histories and its representatives, on the one hand, and the focus on Victorian naturalists in neo-Victorian fiction, on the other. Our focus will be on the role of the naturalist as explorer and writer and on the narratives of their travel adventures and descriptions of landscapes, flora and fauna from Alaska to the South Pacific to South America.  
  
 
Please, '''buy and read''' the following novels:  
 
Please, '''buy and read''' the following novels:  
*Thomas McGuire, ''Steller's Orchid''. Boreal, 2019. (also available via MUSE: https://muse.jhu.edu/book/71564)
+
*Thomas McGuire, ''Steller's Orchid''. Boreal, 2019. (only if you cannot obtain the book as a print copy, note that it is also available via MUSE: https://muse.jhu.edu/book/71564)
 
*Rachel Joyce, ''Miss Benson's Beetle'' [2020]. Penguin, 2021.  
 
*Rachel Joyce, ''Miss Benson's Beetle'' [2020]. Penguin, 2021.  
 
*Susan Gaines, ''Accidentals''. Torrey House, 2020.  
 
*Susan Gaines, ''Accidentals''. Torrey House, 2020.  
Line 32: Line 32:
 
*Introductory session
 
*Introductory session
 
*Welcome: Please read my message under 'Ankündigungen on Stud.IP'; familiarize yourself with the draft syllabus that you find here and note the '''course requirements'''.
 
*Welcome: Please read my message under 'Ankündigungen on Stud.IP'; familiarize yourself with the draft syllabus that you find here and note the '''course requirements'''.
 +
*Reading: excerpts from Bruce Clarke and Manuela Rossini (eds.). ''The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science''. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011. [esp. chapters on natural history and natural philosophy in Part III, pp. 407-485]
  
 
===Session 2: 28 October===
 
===Session 2: 28 October===
*Contexts:
+
*Reading and discussion: excerpts from William Beebe (ed.). ''The Book of Naturalists: An Anthology of the Best Natural History.'' [1944] Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1988. [esp. introductory passages to part 1 and part 2; writings by Darwin]
*Reading and discussion:  
+
*Tasks: xyz
*Tasks:  
+
  
 
===Session 3: 4 November===
 
===Session 3: 4 November===
*Contexts:
+
*Reading and discussion: excerpts from John G.T. Anderson. ''Deep Things Out of Darkness: a History of Natural History''. Berkley, CA: U of California P., 2013. [esp. introduction; chapters on naturalists in the US from Thoreau to Carson]
*Reading and discussion:  
+
*Tasks: xyz
*Tasks:
+
  
 
===Session 4: 11 November===
 
===Session 4: 11 November===
*Contexts:
+
*Reading and discussion: Thomas McGuire, ''Steller's Orchid''
*Reading and discussion:  
+
*Tasks: textual analysis
*Tasks:  
+
  
 
===Session 5: 18 November===
 
===Session 5: 18 November===
 +
*Reading and discussion: Thomas McGuire, ''Steller's Orchid''
 
*Contexts:
 
*Contexts:
*Reading and discussion:
 
 
*Presentation:  
 
*Presentation:  
 
*Tasks:  
 
*Tasks:  
  
 
===Session 6: 25 November===
 
===Session 6: 25 November===
*Contexts: Recap
+
*Reading and discussion: Thomas McGuire, ''Steller's Orchid''
*Reading and discussion:  
+
*Contexts:
*Tasks: (see Stud.IP announcements)
+
*Presentation:  
 +
*Tasks:  
  
 
===Session 7: 2 December===
 
===Session 7: 2 December===
*Reading and discussion:
+
*Reading and discussion: Rachel Joyce, ''Miss Benson's Beetle''
*Presentation:
+
*Tasks: textual analysis
*Tasks:
+
  
 
===Session 8: 9 December===
 
===Session 8: 9 December===
 +
*Reading and discussion: Rachel Joyce, ''Miss Benson's Beetle''
 
*Contexts:  
 
*Contexts:  
*Tasks:
 
 
*Presentation:
 
*Presentation:
 +
*Tasks:
  
 
===Session 9: 16 December===
 
===Session 9: 16 December===
 +
*Reading and discussion: Rachel Joyce, ''Miss Benson's Beetle''
 
*Contexts:  
 
*Contexts:  
 +
*Presentation:
 
*Tasks:  
 
*Tasks:  
*Presentation:
 
  
 
===Session 10: 6 January===
 
===Session 10: 6 January===
*Contexts:
+
*Preparing of research paper outlines
*Tasks:
+
*Presentations:
+
  
 
===Session 11: 13 January===
 
===Session 11: 13 January===
*Contexts:  
+
*Reading and discussion: Susan Gaines, ''Accidentals''
*Presentations:
+
*Tasks: textual analysis
  
 
===Session 12: 20 January===
 
===Session 12: 20 January===
*wrapping up: final discussion
+
*Reading and discussion: Susan Gaines, ''Accidentals''
 +
*Contexts: W.H. Hudson in Beebe
 +
*Presentation:
 +
*Tasks:
  
 
===Session 13: 27 January===
 
===Session 13: 27 January===
*discussion of research papers
+
*wrapping up: reflection and final discussion
*Handout [https://uol.de/f/3/inst/anglistik/download/Leitfaden/Leitfaden_Lit-Cult_2017-2018.pdf Style Sheet for Literary and Cultural Studies]
+
*how to write a research paper: Handout [https://uol.de/f/3/inst/anglistik/download/Leitfaden/Leitfaden_Lit-Cult_2017-2018.pdf Style Sheet for Literary and Cultural Studies]
 
*evaluation
 
*evaluation
  
Line 121: Line 122:
  
 
==Links==
 
==Links==
*[https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/symbiosis/index.aspxSymbiosis: an interdisciplinary network at the University of Birmingham set up to research and develop the role of the arts and the humanities in natural history museums and collections]
+
*[https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/symbiosis/index.aspx Symbiosis: an interdisciplinary network at the University of Birmingham set up to research and develop the role of the arts and the humanities in natural history museums and collections]
 
*https://www.chilkatvalleynews.com/story/2019/07/05/news/a-family-affair-local-novelist-follows-daughters-lead/12940.html
 
*https://www.chilkatvalleynews.com/story/2019/07/05/news/a-family-affair-local-novelist-follows-daughters-lead/12940.html
 
*https://www.adn.com/arts/books/2020/02/08/spot-on-historical-novel-imagines-a-1924-quest-to-the-shumagin-islands/
 
*https://www.adn.com/arts/books/2020/02/08/spot-on-historical-novel-imagines-a-1924-quest-to-the-shumagin-islands/

Revision as of 22:45, 20 October 2021

  • Course: 3.02.150
  • Time: Thursday 12-14h
  • Venue: A13 0-028
  • Course Description: Contemporary perspectives on natural history are most perceptible in museums of natural history: collections of fossils, stuffed birds and animals, biographies of the men, and less frequently women, whose findings are on display. Thus, the history of natural history is linked to individual representatives like Alexander von Humboldt, Charles Darwin or Henry David Thoreau, as much as to the founding of societies of natural history, as well as the age of exploration, imperial travel, colonial entanglements of knowledge, trade and military. Contemporary fiction, too, explores this historically specific interest in nature, one which precedes and is often placed in contrast with the scientific method later found in field biology or ecology. In this seminar, we will read a selection of fictional stories of naturalists and trace contemporary perspectives on the enthusiasm of naturalists but also on questions of gender, imperial complicity, and claims of objectivity. We will start by looking at the history of natural history and the often hazy distinction between natural history and science. We will read examples of narratives written by natural historians from the 19th century, as well as fictional narratives written in the twenty-first century about naturalists in the 20th century. We will examine continuities and discontinuities between a more recent interest in natural histories and its representatives, on the one hand, and the focus on Victorian naturalists in neo-Victorian fiction, on the other. Our focus will be on the role of the naturalist as explorer and writer and on the narratives of their travel adventures and descriptions of landscapes, flora and fauna from Alaska to the South Pacific to South America.

Please, buy and read the following novels:

  • Thomas McGuire, Steller's Orchid. Boreal, 2019. (only if you cannot obtain the book as a print copy, note that it is also available via MUSE: https://muse.jhu.edu/book/71564)
  • Rachel Joyce, Miss Benson's Beetle [2020]. Penguin, 2021.
  • Susan Gaines, Accidentals. Torrey House, 2020.
  • optional (we will read excerpts from this): E.O. Wilson, Anthill: A Novel. Norton, 2010.

PLEASE NOTE: Use the time until the beginning of term to order (and, ideally, immerse yourself in the reading of) the novels. Additional materials for preparation, as well as the detailed syllabus, will be made available here and/or on Stud.IP.

  • Course Requirements
  • Requirements for 6 KP: regular attendance and a (oral/)written contribution in the form of either a presentation + written outline (10-12 pp) or seminar paper (15 pp), based on the topic of the seminar.
  • As part of the "Aktive Teilnahme" regulation:
    Die aktive Teilnahme besteht aus folgenden Komponenten
    - regelmäßige Anwesenheit: max. 3 Abwesenheiten und gegebenenfalls Nacharbeit
    - Vor- und Nachbereitung des Seminarstoffs (Expertengruppen, Vorbereitung/Lektüre von Texten) 
    - Entwicklung einer wissenschaftlichen Fragestellung aus dem Problembereich des Seminars, durch:
      *Übernahme von Ergebnispräsentationen (Gruppenarbeit) und 
      *Entwicklung einer Research Paper Outline im Laufe des Semesters: 
       Wahl eines Themenbereichs (bis letzte Sitzung vor Weihnachten),
       Abstract mit Fragestellung inkl. Forschungsbibliographie (RPO) (bis 24. Jan), 
       Vorstellung der Fragestellung (letzte Semestersitzung).

Session 1: 21 October

  • Introductory session
  • Welcome: Please read my message under 'Ankündigungen on Stud.IP'; familiarize yourself with the draft syllabus that you find here and note the course requirements.
  • Reading: excerpts from Bruce Clarke and Manuela Rossini (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011. [esp. chapters on natural history and natural philosophy in Part III, pp. 407-485]

Session 2: 28 October

  • Reading and discussion: excerpts from William Beebe (ed.). The Book of Naturalists: An Anthology of the Best Natural History. [1944] Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1988. [esp. introductory passages to part 1 and part 2; writings by Darwin]
  • Tasks: xyz

Session 3: 4 November

  • Reading and discussion: excerpts from John G.T. Anderson. Deep Things Out of Darkness: a History of Natural History. Berkley, CA: U of California P., 2013. [esp. introduction; chapters on naturalists in the US from Thoreau to Carson]
  • Tasks: xyz

Session 4: 11 November

  • Reading and discussion: Thomas McGuire, Steller's Orchid
  • Tasks: textual analysis

Session 5: 18 November

  • Reading and discussion: Thomas McGuire, Steller's Orchid
  • Contexts:
  • Presentation:
  • Tasks:

Session 6: 25 November

  • Reading and discussion: Thomas McGuire, Steller's Orchid
  • Contexts:
  • Presentation:
  • Tasks:

Session 7: 2 December

  • Reading and discussion: Rachel Joyce, Miss Benson's Beetle
  • Tasks: textual analysis

Session 8: 9 December

  • Reading and discussion: Rachel Joyce, Miss Benson's Beetle
  • Contexts:
  • Presentation:
  • Tasks:

Session 9: 16 December

  • Reading and discussion: Rachel Joyce, Miss Benson's Beetle
  • Contexts:
  • Presentation:
  • Tasks:

Session 10: 6 January

  • Preparing of research paper outlines

Session 11: 13 January

  • Reading and discussion: Susan Gaines, Accidentals
  • Tasks: textual analysis

Session 12: 20 January

  • Reading and discussion: Susan Gaines, Accidentals
  • Contexts: W.H. Hudson in Beebe
  • Presentation:
  • Tasks:

Session 13: 27 January

Session 14: 03 February

  • discussion of research papers
  • feedback on evaluation
  [Hand in research papers until 15 March 2021]

Tools

Primary Reading

  • see above

Further Reading

  • Bruce Clarke and Manuela Rossini (eds.). The Routledge Companion to Literature and Science. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge, 2011. [Esp. chapters on natural history and natural philosophy in Part III, pp. 407-485]
  • John G.T. Anderson. Deep Things Out of Darkness: a History of Natural History. Berkley, CA: U of California P., 2013.
  • William Beebe (ed.). The Book of Naturalists: An Anthology of the Best Natural History. [1944] Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1988.

Quotes

Links