PORT 497N: The Amazon and Environmental Crisis

PORT 497N: The Amazon and Environmental Crisis


Sarah Townsend

Days Taught:


Time Offered:

11:15 AM - 12:05 PM

Semester Offered:

Fall 2024

Few places are as central to debates about environmental crisis and the future of our planet as the Amazon rainforest. In this course we will examine journalistic articles, scientific research, documentaries, statements by Indigenous leaders and environmental activists, literary texts, films, and artworks that reflect on Amazonian ecosystems and the effects of environmental change on the way people, plants, and animals live and die. At the same time, we will cast a critical eye on the role the Amazon plays in broader discussions of climate change and extinction. Are there ways other than the rhetoric of “crisis” to frame the pressing problems this vital region faces?

The course will be taught in English, and no knowledge of the Portuguese language, the Amazon, or environmental sciences is required¾though students will be encouraged to draw on any knowledge they might have of these or other relevant fields, and they will have the opportunity to pursue their own research interests in the final project. Students who want to count the course toward the Portuguese minor will be expected to do some readings in Portuguese and complete their written work in Portuguese.


Arts and Humanities