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MCC Daily Tribune Archive

The Environment, Eco-Criticism, and the Classroom: A Professional Development Opportunity

Next week, George Grattan of Boston's Urban Ecology Institute will offer two professional development opportunities at MCC:

Thursday, February 1, at 3:30 p.m., he will give a free afternoon lecture on the relationship between literary/cultural studies and ecology. This event is open to all faculty, staff, and students, and will be held in 5-323. Refreshments will be provided courtesy of Longman Publishing.

On Friday, February 2, Grattan will facilitate a noon brown-bag, faculty-development workshop in 3-115 on bringing ecological and place-based issues into the classroom, in particular into the writing-intensive classroom.

These events are co-sponsored by MCC's English/Philosophy Department, Creative Arts Committee, and Sustainability Group. Please contact Maria Brandt at <> or 585-292-3394 for further information.


George Grattan argues that, “in its broadest scientific terms (as the study of the interrelationships of the elements and dynamics in a given system), ‘ecology’ emerges for the student and teacher of literature and culture as a powerful metaphor for the work that we do, and points again to why we do it. Good teaching, like good literature and healthy environments, depends upon attention to interrelatedness. My students and I seek to understand the relationships of things in a system, whether that system be a watershed or a poem or a classroom or our common humanity, so that we may better understand and preserve and attempt to perfect the whole. Eco-criticism, whether applied to literature or composition or cultural studies, seeks to place the natural world, our relationships with it, and our definitions of it at the center of our interpretive effort, much the same way other critics might seek to place race, gender, sexuality, or class. In the eco-critical paradigm, however, all texts and readers (and consumers) are intrinsically involved in the conversation: the environment and how we portray and understand it is, literally, all around us.” 

Grattan is co-editor of Writing Places, a Longman Topics composition reader emphasizing place-based and environmental approaches to college writing; he specializes in eco-critical and interdisciplinary approaches to composition and American literature and culture; and he has worked as a consultant for Boston’s non-profit Urban Ecology Institute in the development of integrated, interdisciplinary environmental curricula for urban high school students. His work has appeared in Reading Under the Sign of Nature: New Essays in Ecocriticsm (University of Utah Press, 2000) and he has delivered papers and presented in roundtable panels at several academic conferences, including those of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) and the Modern Language Association (MLA), on topics ranging from environmental justice themes in American urban literature, to the pedagogy of place-based composition and activism, to environmentally-sanctioned eroticism in Disney’s Tarzan. Currently, he is the Associate Director for Development and Public Relations for UEI.

Maria Brandt