Proseminar: Ecology in Drama and Theatre

Dozentin: Christina Caupert M.A.
Termin: Do. 17.30-19.00 Uhr                 
Raum: 1087

The term "ecology" was coined in 1866 by German biologist Ernst Haeckel, who defined the discipline as "the whole science of the relations of the organism to the environment including [...] all the 'conditions of existence.'" While ecology, in the narrow sense, is thus a natural science, it seems clear that the sciences alone cannot adequately handle the vast area of study that Haeckel’s definition delineates. As a matter of fact, cultural artifacts from all eras and civilizations demonstrate that ecologically relevant questions about the interrelationship between humankind and (the rest of) the natural world are at the very core of arts and culture. It hardly comes as a surprise, then, that the ecological paradigm has also found its way into literary studies. "Ecocritics," i.e. scholars studying literature under the sign of ecology, focus on the ways in which nature permeates texts and discourses, both thematically and aesthetically. Yet even though ecocriticism, which emerged in the 1990s, is today a vibrant field, ecocritics have, on the whole, been strangely hesitant to address the genres of drama and theatre. In this seminar, we will attempt to explore this comparative research gap by bringing ecocritical theory together with a selection of dramatic texts – canonical classics as well as contemporary works from the US, the UK, and Canada. Issues discussed will range from the distinction between humans and animals to climate change and matters of time and space, and from the conditions of human agency and cognition to the relations between world, mind, and sign.

Teilnahmevoraussetzungen: Active participation in class discussions, regular fulfillment of reading, classroom, and home assignments.

Leistungsnachweis: Term paper

Modulsignaturen: siehe Digicampus

A reading list will be published on Digicampus.