This seminar seeks to familiarize students with the study of literature and environment—Ecocriticism, or ecological literary criticism—and the idea that the study of literature can lead to environmental, as well as cultural, awareness. We will examine literary and cultural texts that represent three distinct traditions: US Nature Writing from the nineteenth century (the classics such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Muir, Susan Fenimore Cooper), Latin American Literature in translation, and recent US Latina/o literature. Although these three traditions represent differing views on nature, culture, and modernization, they all dialogue with the place of the human in nature. Some authors celebrate the wilderness experience and advocate for going “back to nature,” while others explicitly speak out against environmental justice issues affecting the health of residents in the inner city. Excursions (hiking and paddling, and whatever else the group is up for!) will provide us with opportunities to connect with the more-than-human world and to dialogue more directly with the ideas of some of the environmental thinkers who wrote about their experiences of interconnectedness with nature. I love getting out as a class and sharing my love of outdoor recreation. As sustainability has become a strong focus of UMW, students will be encouraged to find ways to get involved with projects on campus to make our institution even more sustainable.