7 Sept. Nature, Post Nature

Featured Image: Thomas Cole (1801–1848), The Oxbow, View from Mount Holyoke, Northampton, Massachusetts, after a Thunderstorm (1836), The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Part I: Key Terms

  • 1. What is a key term? How do readers recognize them? Why are key terms important for readers and writers?


Part II: Freewrite

Freewrite: Write a response to the following question for 7-10 minutes without stopping, and be prepared to share your answer with the class:

What does Nature mean to you?

Respond in your own words and from your own point of view. Feel free include anecdotal evidence or allude to texts that shape your personal understanding of the term/place.


Part III: Discussion of “Nature, Post-Nature”

Get out the Clark essay and be prepared to discuss the following:
  • 1. What does Clark mean when he says that the language we have inherited to describe the current environmental crisis is “fragile” (75)?
  • 2. What are the three basic meanings of ‘nature’ according to Clark (75-6)?
  • 3. According to Clark, how and/or why does the distinction between culture and Nature break down? Which of the examples he provides do you find most convincing?
  • 4. What is the Anthropocene? What are some characteristics of the Anthropocene that Clark finds ironic?
  • 5. What sorts of literary genres does Clark think work to best represent the Anthropocene?
  • 6. What “scenarios” does Clark propose would “avoid the disasters of the Anthropocene” (84) if implemented? What keeps these sorts of proposals from being implemented?
  • 7. Why/how do critics”evade the question of human nature” (85)? Why is this evasion a problem?


Part IV: Application

Watch the clip below and then be prepared to respond to the following:
  • 1. Describe key action sequences and/or visual images
  • 2. How do those sequences and/or images illustrate a key term or concept found in Clark’s essay?