Module 1: Literature and Environment
Coursework: Wednesday 26 June - Tuesday 2 June
Lecturer: Prof. Dan Wylie
Literature & Environment week.
Seminar Programme (Week 1)
Using literature as a window, this module looks at the History, Environment and Politics of human settlement in the Eastern Cape, with special focus on the Karoo, the Camdeboo Region and the area surrounding Grahamstown.
Throughout the course, you will have the opportunity to engage in insightful seminars and take part in walking tours in the fascinating areas around Grahamstown. For this module, you will be evaluated on your participation in seminars and on an essay to be handed in at the end of the module. This module will focus on three areas:
1. Rocks, paint and words
The Grahamstown area is wonderfully rich in geological remnants from the very earliest times, including extensive fossil remains and, more recently, San rock art. Not only has this geology affected, even determined, the human history of the region in numerous ways: it has also spawned a rich vein of writing. This section will explore mostly poetry, especially that of Guy Butler, Robert Berold and Don Maclennan.
2. Littoral/literal zones
The coastline is a borderline of exploration and discovery which is also now particularly under ecological threat. This section explores some of the literature of the coast, including early shipwreck narratives, the discovery of the prehistoric coelacanth, and the estuarine literature of the Port Elizabeth area, in which environmental degradation is an area of focus.
3. African Elephants
The Eastern Cape is one of the few areas of the country where elephants remain in any numbers, especially at Addo. Animals, and the geography of animal distribution and culture, has been a key element in all human activities, from the earliest hunter-gatherers and Nguni pastoralists, via white imperial hunters, to contemporary conservationists. We dip into some indigenous folklore, nineteenth-century hunting accounts, and current tales and game-ranger memoirs.
The Plains of the Camdeboo provide a surreal and enthralling setting for much of South Africa's literature.