4 credits / M 2:00 – 4:45pm
Taught by Elisabeth Strowick
Taught in German.
Against the backdrop of recent theories of ecocriticism and the anthropocene, this seminar inquires into literary forms of ecological thinking. Instead of the traditional topos of literature as an “imitation of nature,” the course proceeds from theories that think “ecology without nature” (Morton). In this context, a fruitful approach can be found in “scale critique” (Woods), which frames the anthropocene as a problem of scale. Insofar as humanity has become a “geological force,” “human agency” can no longer only be thought “over multiple and incommensurable scales at once” (Chakrabarty). Rather, humanity experiences a radical decentering. Timothy Clark designates the heterogeneity of scales in the anthropocene as “scale effects.” “Scale effects” are of manifold interest for the theory of representation, for not only do they withdraw themselves from visibility and representation, but they also entail “spectral agencies.”
What kind of “scale effects” are at work in literary ecologies, or eco-scenarios? What kind of “derangements of scale,” what incommensurabilities, discontinuities, heterotopias, fault lines, latencies, and serialities does literature bring onto the stage, thereby posing a challenge not only to ecological thinking, but also to literary representation? The spectrum of ecological scenarios is broad, ranging from micrologies to the rupturing of dams and of frames, from postapocalyptic scenarios to eco-horror and “the environmental uncanny” (Ghosh).
Readings include texts by Adalbert Stifter, Theodor Storm, H.P. Lovecraft, Arno Schmidt, Thomas Bernhard, Marlen Haushofer, Max Frisch, Peter Handke, Don DeLillo, Raoul Schrott, Bruno Latour, Timothy Morton and others. The course will be taught in German.