CCHU9033 Arts and Humanities
Countries of the Mind: Texts that Shape the World

Course Description

This course explores how literature and film inform the ways we understand, imagine, and relate to the surrounding world. How might we change our relation to place, space, feeling, and thought in relationship to the local and global environment? We will travel, together, through several examples of how the countryside, wilderness, and the city have been depicted historically in literature and film, as well as ways in which we now enter the surrounding world via climate concerns, posthumanism, and digital culture.

Course Learning Outcomes

On completing the course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an awareness of the function of literary representation as both shaped by concrete situations and shaping responses to such situations.
  2. Analytically compare different conventions and strategies in the representation of place in literature and explain their significance in relation to environmental values.
  3. Distinguish between different concepts and representations of the environment in relation to material and imaginary uses of places.
  4. Identify key issues in eco-criticism and trace their histories across different cultural traditions.
  5. Recognize distinct imaginary and institutional environments constituted by literature and engage in arguments about their relevance to society.

Offer Semester and Day of Teaching

Second semester (Wed)

Study Load

Activities Number of hours
Lectures 24
Tutorials 10
Fieldwork / Visits 13
Reading / Self-study 50
Film viewing 3
Assessment: Written assignments 40
Total: 140

Assessment: 100% coursework

Assessment Tasks Weighting
Journal writing 30
Oral participation 20
Critical writing 50

Required Reading

A Course Reader will be provided. This contains extracts from:

  • Blake, W. (1804). Jerusalem.
  • Calvino, I. (1979). Invisible Cities.
  • Chatwin, B. (1982). On the Black Hill.
  • Davidson, R. (1991). Tracks.
  • Dickens C. (1849-50). David Copperfield.
  • Golding, W. (1962). The Lord of the Flies.
  • Harvey, D. (1991). The Condition of Postmodernity.
  • Huxley, A. (1932). Brave New World.
  • Lopez, B. (2001). Arctic Dreams.
  • Milton, J. (1667). Paradise Lost.
  • Muir, J. (1894). The Mountains of California.
  • Raban, J. (1974). Soft City.
  • Short, J. R. (1991). Imagined country: environment, culture, and society.
  • Snyder, G. (1974). The Call of the Wild.
  • The Bible.
  • Williams, R. (1973). The Country and the City.
  • Wordsworth, W. (1799). The Prelude.

Required Viewing

Various film clips will accompany lectures. Two film viewings will be organised:

  • Attenborough, D. (2020). A Life on Our Planet. [83 mins]
  • Gore, A. (2006). An Inconvenient Truth. [97 mins]

Course Co-ordinator and Teacher(s)

Course Co-ordinator Contact
Professor J.C. Kuehn
School of English, Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 1921
Teacher(s) Contact
Professor J.C. Kuehn
School of English, Faculty of Arts
Tel: 3917 1921