Tonight we’ll be talking with Scott Slovic, professor of English at University of Nevada, Reno. He’ll be talking with us about his field of study—literature and the environment, as well as describing a new project he’s been working on, “The Literature of Sustainability.”

Our Discussion with Scott Slovic

On the phone with us is Scott Slovic, professor of literature and the environment at the University of Nevada, Reno. Thanks for joining us, Scott.

1A. You are a professor of literature and environment. Can you tell us a little more about your field? How long has it been around? What do you study?

1B.  In a recent conversation we had, you argued that the humanities must be seen as an integral part of the world, not as a decorative bauble or mere entertainment.  How does environmental literature engage what some call “the real world?”

2. What approach do you take in teaching literature about the environment? Are courses political? historical? cultural?

3. What is ecocriticism? How does that function in the field of literature and environment?

4. You’re currently teaching, lecturing, and writing a book on the Literature of Sustainability? Could you tell us what your focus is there?

Recommended Readings from Scott Slovic

The Literature of Sustainability

Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2006.

Hersey, John. My Petition for More Space. New York: Knopf, 1974.

Kerouac, Jack. On the Road. 1957. New York: Viking, 1997.

Meloy, Ellen. Raven’s Exile: A Season on the Green River. 1994. Tucson: U of Arizona     P,


Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. 2006. New York: Penguin, 2007.

Powers, Richard. Gain. New York: Picador USA, 1998.

Quammen, David. The Song of the Dodo: Island Biography in an Age of Extinction. 1996. New

York: Pimlico, 1997.

Steingraber, Sandra. Living Downstream: A Scientist’s Personal Investigation of Cancer    and the

Environment. 1997. New York: Vintage, 1998.

Stafford, William. “Maybe Alone on My Bike.” 1964. Smoke’s Way. Minneapolis: Graywolf,

1983. 29.

Susanka, Sarah. The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way We Really Live. Newtown, CT:

Taunton, 2001.

The Literature of Energy

Bergon, Frank. The Temptations of St. Ed and Brother S. Reno: U of Nevada P, 1993.

Brower, Kenneth. The Starship and the Canoe. 1978. New York: Harper Perennial, 1983.

Gaines, Susan. Carbon Dreams. Berkeley, CA: The Creative Arts Book Company, 2001. Gelbspan, Ross. Boiling Point: How Politicians, Big Oil and Coal, Journalists, and Activists

Have Fueled the Climate Crisis—and What We Can Do to Avert Disaster. 2004. New        York: Basic Books, 2005.

McKibben, Bill. The End of Nature. 1989. New York: Anchor, 1997.

McPhee, John. The Curve of Binding Energy. 1973. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1994.

Smil, Vaclav. Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties. 2004.

Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005.

Weisman, Alan. Gaviotas: A Village to Reinvent the World. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea

Green Publishing, 1998.

Food, Sustainability, and American Culture

Andrews, William L., ed. Classic American Autobiographies. New York: Signet Classics, 1992.

Berry, Wendell. Remembering: A Novel. 1990. Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 2008.

Brinkley, Alan. The Unfinished Nation. 1993. Fifth Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2008.

Crevecoeur, Hector St. John de. Letters from an American Farmer and Sketches of

Eighteenth-Century America. 1782. New York: Penguin Classics, 1981.

Klindienst, Patricia. The Earth Knows My Name: Food, Culture, and Sustainability in the

Gardens of Ethnic Americans. Boston: Beacon, 2006.

Ozeki, Ruth. All Over Creation. New York: Penguin, 2004.

Nabhan, Gary Paul. Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Foods. New York: Norton, 2009.

Pollan, Michael. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. 2006. New York:

Penguin, 2007.

Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005.

Steingraber, Sandra. Having Faith. New York: Berkley, 2003.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. 1854. New York: Dover, 1995.

Ecocriticism and Theory (with selected samples of environmental literature)

Adamson, Joni, Mei Mei Evans, and Rachel Stein, eds., The Environmental Justice

Reader. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2002.

Adamson, Joni, and Scott Slovic, eds. Special issue of MELUS 34.2 (Summer 2009).

ISSN: 0163-755x. Contact:

Alaimo, Stacy, and Susan Hekman, eds., Material Feminisms. Bloomington: Indiana UP,


Buell, Lawrence. The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and

Literary Imagination. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

DeLoughrey, Elizabeth, Renée Gosson, and George Handley, Caribbean Literature and

the Environment: Between Nature and Culture. Charlottesville: U of Virginia P,


Dobrin, Sidney, and Sean Morey, eds., Ecosee: Image, Rhetoric, Nature. Albany: SUNY

P, 2009.

Glotfelty, Cheryll, and Harold Fromm, eds., The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in

Literary Ecology. Athens: U of Georgia P, 1996.

Gore, Al. An Inconvenient Truth. Emmaus, PA: Rodale, 2006. ISBN: 1-59486-567-1.

Heise, Ursula. Sense of Place and Sense of Planet: The Environmental Imagination of the

Global. New York: Oxford UP, 2008.

Hogan, Linda. People of the Whale. New York: Norton, 2008.

Ihimaera, Witi. The Whale Rider. Orlando: Harcourt, 2003.

Lynch, Tom. Xerophilia: Ecocritical Explorations in Southwestern Literature. Lubbock:

Texas Tech UP, 2008.

Nabhan, Gary Paul. Arab/American: Landscape, Culture, and Cuisine in Two Great

Deserts. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2008.

Sturgeon, Noël. Environmentalism in Popular Culture: Gender, Race, Sexuality, and the

Politics of the Natural. Tucson: U of Arizona P, 2009.

Thoreau, Henry David. Walden. 1854. Boston: Beacon, 1997.

Williams, Terry Tempest. Finding Beauty in a Broken World. New York: Vintage, 2008.

Wolfe, Cary. Animal Rites: American Culture, the Discourse of Species, and

Posthumanist Theory. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 2003.