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Study information

Green Matters in Modern Languages and Cultures

Module titleGreen Matters in Modern Languages and Cultures
Module codeSML3041
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Ulrike Zitzlsperger (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

Our current geological age has been termed the ‘anthropocene’ - an age when human activities have come to influence our environment. This team-taught, interdisciplinary module, which is suitable for all interested students, explores cultural responses to these developments over time. 

It considers the fundamental but at times also controversial role culture plays in pointing at challenges and opportunities; disasters and dangers; and the importance of communities in the wider context of issues such as environmental awareness, climate change, global warming and sustainability. This module provides case-studies on the history of green movements over time, raises ethical considerations in general and artistic, literary, linguistic and cinematic approaches in particular. 

Students in need of credits for a specific language should specialize accordingly in the assessments.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module provides, by means of individual case-studies, an overview of the historical, artistic, architectural, literary and cinematic developments in relation to the awareness of our environment. It gives insight into a range of global developments and informs about principal aspects of past and current debates. It fosters the kind of synoptic debate employers particularly value. 

This is a team-taught module that reflects the expertise of individual lecturers.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate detailed understanding of cultural approaches to the environment.
  • 2. Demonstrate detailed knowledge of key examples that reflect cultural responses to the Anthropocene.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Analyse texts, films, paintings and documents in a variety of genres and styles, apply and evaluate critical approaches to the material.
  • 4. Demonstrate familiarity and ability to draw on a range of research literature and the ability to use a range of critical terminology.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Present a cogent and sustained argument in writing, in discussions and in presentations as part of a group or on your own.
  • 6. Adopt a critical approach to the complex body of interdisciplinary material covered.

Syllabus plan

The syllabus may vary, but usually includes the following topics taught by a team of lecturers:

  • Green movements, parties and activists (case-study: Germany)
  • The environment in 20th century German art
  • The Amazon and the Road Movie
  • The depiction of (polluted) rivers and waterways in the Arts
  • The role of the hunter
  • Ecolinguistics
  • ‘Aren’t we all animals?’ A historical look at the human/animal divide

The module will on occasion also include guest speakers and a trip to the Exeter and Devon Institute.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1510 x 1.5 hours of lectures and seminars
Scheduled Learning and Teaching1Tutorial
Guided Independent Study134Private study and seminar preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Two short essays in preparation of the coursework750 words1-6Written, with oral feedback on request

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Portfolio of two essays100Synoptic essay of 2000 words (60%) and subject-specific case study of 1-6Written, with oral feedback on request

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Portfolio of essaysPortfolio of essays1-6Referral/deferral period

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment. 

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%.

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Books and excerpts from books:

  • di Bianco,Lauran, ‘Ecocinema Ars et Praxis: Alice Rohrwacher’s Lazzaro Felice’ (forthcoming in The Italianist)
  • Fontaine, Jean de, Fables (selected)
  • Gaard, Greta, Ecofeminism: Women, Animals, Nature (Temple University Press, 1993), pp. 1-12.
  • La Comte de Buffon, L’Historie Naturelle / Natural History (1797)
  • Milder, Stephen, Greening Democracy: The Anti-Nuclear Movement and Political Environmentalism in West Germany and Beyond (CUP, 2017)
  • Papadakis, Elim, The Green Movement in West Germany (Routledge, 2016)
  • Pearson, Wendy, ‘Detours Homeward: Indigenous Uses of the Road Movie’, The Guardian Journal of Native Studies 31:1, pp.139-59.
  • Pinazza, Natalia, ‘Journeys and Colonialism in Contemporary Latin American Cinema’, in: L. Bayman and N. Pinazza (eds.), Journeys on Screen: Theory, Ethics and Aesthetics (Edinburgh, 2018)
  • Sahlins, Peter, 1668: The Year of the Animal in France (Zone Books, 2017)
  • Stibbe, Arran, Ecolinguistics. Language, Ecology and the Story We Live By (Routledge, 2015)
  • Stibbe, Arran, Animals Erased: Discourse, Ecology and Reconnection with the Natural World (Wesleyan University Press, 2012)


  • Embrace of the Serpent (Guerra, 2015)

Further material will be provided by the lecturers in preparation of individual seminars.

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Key words search

Climate; climate change; green issues; anthropocene; literary responses to climate matters; cinematic responses to climate matters; artistic responses to climate matters; Green Movement; Green Party; animals; ecology; Ecolinguistics; environment

Credit value15
Module ECTS


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NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


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Last revision date