PHD912 Ecocriticism and Didactic Practices

Course description for academic year 2019/2020

Contents and structure

The course forms part of the PhD programme in Bildung and Pedagogcal Practices.
The course is founded on ecocritical thinking and aims to provide insight into and new knowledge about ecocriticism in a formation perspective. The aim is to strengthen the student's ability to understand how ecocritical issues are portrayed in various texts for children and adolescents, and how such issues play into, and can be developed in, didactic practices. The course seeks to encourage critical and independent perspectives on ecocritical thinking and on how such thinking can be expressed in the professional field. This is to be done by developing the student's skill in reading and interpreting both classical and recent texts that have shaped and is shaping the field of ecocriticism. In addition, students will explore how ecocritical formation takes place in various didactic practices involving children and adolescents.

The course presents and discusses the field of ecocriticism. Both older and newer texts are used to discuss the history and development of ecocriticism. Emphasis is placed on ecocritical theory and on how such theory describes what constitutes ecocritical reflection and practice as well as how it can contribute to ecocritical formation, or Bildung.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course, the student has the following learning outcomes:


The student has

  • an independent understanding of various ecocritical theories and related didactical practices within their own field
  • an in-depth knowledge of ecocritical core topics and an understanding of the analytical practices and of the research literature related to the subject of ecocritical formation
  • good insight into factors influencing and shaping ecocritical thinking and didactic practices that further sustainable development as well as into factors that can help shape ecocitizens.


The student

  • may undertake appropriate assessments of research literature related to the subject of ecocriticism and didactic practices
  • can develop new interpretations, research questions and theory concerning ecocritical perspectives
  • can develop adequate research designs to conduct research on ecocriticism and didactic practices
  • can take a position on and challenge established issues, understandings and analyses in the subject

General competence

The student

  • can assess the implications of (and for) ecocritical theory within his or her own field
  • can discuss the base questions of the course and of the practice field and identify and conduct research in line with the rules and ethics of the field
  • communicate ecocritical insights to appropriate audiences (professionals, students, general audiences)
  • can use theory and analysis models developed in the ecocritical research field

Teaching methods

The subject spans a semester. Organized teaching is provided in the form of 6 video lectures, and response to student work is given in terms of approval of compulsory work requirements. Students are expected to engage in interactive peer discussion on the Canvas discussion forum throughout the course. The course emphasizes the understanding and discussion of key areas in ecocritical thinking.

The lectures are organized into six modules: Ecocritical thought-figures or topoi, the NatCul Matrix,the Posthuman, Cultural plant and animal studies, Ethical issues in the field, and Eco-critical didactics (the reading list is organized around these topics).

During the course, students will submit 3 answer components to selected lectures. The answer component should include a discussion of ecocritical thinking with relation to the students’ own field of study. Students are expected to orient themselves in relevant research literature and secondary literature about the issues being discussed and post their answer components online (in Canvas).

Students are expected to participate actively in group activities on the interactive online forums.

Course requirements

Students must submit 3 answer components (blog posts, each of approx. 500 words) to progress to the assessment of their scientific article (see under assessment).


Based on the work of the mandatory requirements, students will hand in a scientific article that addresses the relationship between ecocritical thinking and their own field of study. The text should be 5000-6000 characters including spaces. The text must meet the formal requirements for scientific publishing. The work is evaluated as a pass or fail based on the evaluation of an internal and an external examiner. The assessment considers the learning outcomes descriptions for the course.