The Wasteland on Environmentalism

What: A researched environmental humanities analysis. Environmental Humanities combines cultural analysis with historical research on actual environments as well as research into the scholarly conversation around a given work of literature or author in order to contextualize and support an analysis of cultural objects or society. In our case, the cultural objects will be literary texts. The essays you have read for this class by Kelly Sultzbach (Links to an external site.), Jeremy Diaper (Links to an external site.), and Jesse Oak Taylor (Links to an external site.) are all forms of environmental humanities scholarship, also the work of Rob Nixon (Links to an external site.) which you will read in a couple weeks. Though your essay will not be as complex or detailed as theirs for you only have a few weeks and not a few years to write as they have, consider their work to be a model for your own—the way they work at the cross-section of the literary and the environmental, of the fictional and the real. Project goal: To create an analysis essay which contextualizes your interpretation of environmental representation in a given text or texts which we have read for this class within the actual environmental contexts of its stated setting and/or places referenced within the text of interpretive significance. Examples of such settings and their environmental contexts in the real world include: Rebecca West’s The Return of the Soldier and British-owned mines in Mexico; D.H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover and the coal pits of England—especially its Midlands region; or T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land and London pollution. In connecting text and context your analysis will discuss the role literary representation can play in constituting real material relations between people and their world through the formative effect popular or highly valued cultural representation (like these texts) has the potential to have on a person’s feelings and actions towards the environment. Research requirements: Must incorporate 2-4 peer reviewed sources (journal articles, books, or book chapters) – at least one of these must be an environmental history source (focusing on time period in which text is set) and at least one must be a literary criticism source (focusing on author(s) and/or text(s) chosen). You may use literary criticism we have read for this class, but, these cannot be part of your core 2 sources. See accessing library databases and why peer reviewed sources handout here (Links to an external site.) for more information on what peer reviewed means, why it is the academic standard for research, and where to look for such sources at RISD. For help on incorporating research into your writing, see this handout (Links to an external site.) from RISD’s Center for Arts & Language. Also, look back at my feedback on your Week 7 project. Remember, research supports and contextualizes your ideas and argument, don’t let it take over your essay. Prose or writing requirements: Essay must have: 1) a thesis statement (see handout); 2) all body paragraphs (paragraphs that are not the introductory or conclusion paragraph) must follow the LEAF format (see handout); 3) all body paragraphs must contain close reading of the primary (literary, not research) text’s quotes/examples (see handout); 4) you will be absolutely required to revise this essay once all the elements are included. You can expect to lose up to one letter grade if you do not do this, or, if your revision is insufficient—i.e. you just edited for grammar and typos. You will prove you have done this by turning on track changes once you have completed your first draft and making all revisions in track changes (this way I can see what was done in revision). Visually, while you compose, this can get kind of annoying, so, I recommend setting it in word (under “review”) to “no markup” so it hides the track changes from you. Make sure you turn on track changes each time you go to revise your paper. Guides for using track changes here (you will not, I don’t believe, be able to do this in google docs, so you must use Word—if you don’t have it on your device, get it for free here (Links to an external site.)): on a mac (Links to an external site.) and on a pc (Links to an external site.). Required Length: 2000 words, not including works cited page (and, no more than 25% can be quotations from other sources). (If you choose a multimedia option – see below – your required length will be different.) Format: MLA Formatting is required. See syllabus and this website (Links to an external site.) for more information on how to cite your sources in-text, in works cited page, and the stylistic requirements (12 pt. Times New Roman font, 1” margins, double spacing, etc.). See also this handout (Links to an external site.) from RISD’s Center for Arts & Language, where you can also schedule online appointments (Links to an external site.) with writing tutors for paper help at any stage (among other things).

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