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Literature and the Environment

Environmentalism in (Post) Colonial Literature

Environmental Justice Atlas: Multinational Oil Companies on the Niger Delta, Nigeria

If you watched the movie Dune and wondered if they are talking about oil and not "spice," then let us have a conversation. In this course, we will talk about what it means when your land is only viewed as a particular resource to a colonizer, while it is also home to you in a thousand different ways. And what happens when the colonizers are gone, and now you are part of a generation who has inherited a colonized space, but isn't sure what home is anymore? Or, what if your ancestors were brought to the land colonizers occupy and now you call that land your home? Or, what if the land that once belonged to someone is now considered everyone's home? In this course, we will study how to understand environment in relation to the land or space we connect our identity. 


Texts may include:

  • Nalo Hopkinson’s short stories, Helon Habila’s Oil on Water
  • Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake,
  • Marie Clements’s Burning Vision, and Rita Wong’s Forage
  • We will also discuss Hayao Miyazaki’s animation, such as Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, and read the graphic novel by Patti LaBoucane-Benson


Assessments will consist of: 

  • 100-word participation exercise (10%)
  • 2000-word essay (40%)
  • take-home midterm (20%)
  • take-home final (30%)


Level 2 or above

Department of English, Queen's University

Watson Hall
49 Bader Lane
Kingston ON K7L 3N6

Telephone (613) 533-2153



Queen's University is situated on traditional Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe territory.