Portland Community College | Portland, Oregon Portland Community College

CCOG for ENG 230 Summer 2022

View archive version »
Course Number:
ENG 230
Course Title:
Environmental Literature
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces texts that explore the relationship between people and their environments, both natural and built. Examines historical trends that have shaped thinking, understanding, and feelings about how humans and the natural world interact. Explores literary writings on issues of sustainability, environmental justice, ecological literacy, and a sense of place. Prerequisites: (WR 115 and RD 115) or IRW 115 or equivalent placement. Audit available.

Intended Outcomes for the course

Upon completion of the course students should be able to:

  1. Define and evaluate kinds of environmental literature.
  2. Identify and analyze the strategies which poets, novelists, essayists and other writers have used to address environmental questions.
  3. Identify changing trends in environmental tropes and concerns by using the methods of literary analysis and literary history.
  4. Apply an understanding of environmental literature to explain the interconnected environmental effects of everyday decisions we make as individuals and a culture.
  5. Critically examine the complex and interconnected relationship between human behavior and  the environment through a lens of sustainability and the “triple bottom line” of people, planet, and profit.

Integrative Learning

Students completing an associate degree at Portland Community College will be able to reflect on one’s work or competencies to make connections between course content and lived experience.

General education philosophy statement

English and Writing courses align with the PCC General Education philosophy by providing an appreciation of writing and literature from global and personal perspectives. Students in English courses engage the imagination, critical inquiry and self‐reflection, and in the process of doing so, cultivate a more complex understanding of their own culture(s), linguistic/communication practices, and perspectives in relation to others. Because the literary arts lie at the heart of most human cultures, they are essential for understanding each other and navigating our differences. In literature classes, students explore significant texts from diverse cultures and periods in history. Students look closely at texts from a range of genres, articulating the way elements of writing, content, form, and style are interrelated, and considering how values and interpretations have changed over time and through different theoretical lenses. Students engage texts through critical analysis and creative response, learning to use evidence to support their interpretations and to navigate critical conversations. Students explore literature both as an art form designed to provoke thought and challenge social norms, and as an expression of human experience. Writing and Literature courses foster a stronger sense of engagement with history, culture, and society. Writing and Literature students develop an awareness of themselves as readers and writers in a global world, and an enlarged understanding of the relationships between language, identity, ideas, scholarship, communication, and transformation.

Course Activities and Design

Class meeting time may include lecture, videos, discussion, small-group discussion, in-class writings, and perhaps guest speakers. Students may post blogs or messages and comment on other students’ postings. Out-of-class activities may include field trips to local manifestations of the content of the readings; regular observations of a particular outdoor environment throughout the term; and a service-learning project engaged with the environment.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Instructors vary on methods of assessment, but generally instructors employ some combination of quizzes, exams, essays, reading notebooks, and observation journals. The final grade is generally based upon the quality and extent of students' understanding of the course readings and discussions, as demonstrated in writings, discussion in class, and conferences.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)


  • Relationship between people and landscape
  • Sustainability
  • Environmental justice


  • Bioregion
  • Ecosystem
  • Nature
  • Natural resources
  • Nature deficit disorder
  • Ecological literacy
  • Dwelling in Place
  • Topophilia
  • Edges
  • Liminal character
  • Garden
  • Pastoral
  • The commons
  • The frontier
  • Savages
  • Manifest destiny
  • American exceptionalism
  • The built environment vs. the natural environment
  • Economic centralization vs. decentralization
  • The Great Economy
  • Secondary lands
  • National sacrifice zones
  • Ecofeminism
  • Peak oil
  • Climate change