English Literature MA

English Literature 2A: Writing Ecologies ENGLIT2001

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Critical Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 2 (SCQF level 8)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course encourages students to consider the relationship between literature, culture and environment, and to explore the many kinds of material-cultural 'ecologies' to which this shifting relation has, and potentially could, give rise. Students will also consider how discourses such as politics, philosophy, religion and aesthetics have helped to shape our ecologies, and explore key critical concepts for thinking about them, such as anthropocentrism, the anthropocene, humanism, ideology, posthumanism and the pastoral.  


Lectures: Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday at 10am over 10 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

1 x one hour seminar over 9 weeks as scheduled on MyCampus

Excluded Courses





Seminar contribution: 10%

Mid-term annotated bibliography (1000 words): 30%

Essay (2500 words): 60% 

Main Assessment In: December

Course Aims

 This course aims to:

■ Introduce students to fundamental assumptions and outlooks concerning ecology and society, as these are embodied in literary and critical texts.

■ Encourage critical thinking about depictions of natural and human-made environments in a range of literary periods and genres, with reference to form and content.

■ Foreground connections between literature and other fields of human activity, e.g history, philosophy, politics, economics and theology, and how these fields have shaped human and non-human ecology in the past and present.

■ Help students to analyse literature as a social practice with ecological consequences.

■ Enable students to apply key ecological concepts to literary texts and everyday practices.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:


■ Discuss the ways in which texts articulate ecological perspectives (including historical, environmental, cultural and ideological outlooks).

■ Analyse a text's ecological dynamics with reference to its formal literary features (such as syntax, imagery, levels of style and discourse, conventions of genre).

■ Make effective comparisons and connections between relevant aspects of literary and theoretical texts.

■ Apply key ecological and environmental arguments or concepts to the wider world.

■ Select and synthesise information drawn from different sources in the construction of oral and written arguments.  

■ Communicate a sense of literature's ecological implications as a cultural practice.  

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.