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A Whaley Seminar

CWL 581
aerial view of whale in water

Professor: Brett Kaplan

Meets: Mondays 3-5 pm (Siebel Design Center SCD 0060)

This course explores literatures intersecting environmental and memory studies through a focus on whales and water. We’ll practice close reading and literary analyses as we work through a series of texts probably including Alexis Pauline Gumbs’s Undrowned, Linda Hogan’s People of the Whale, Yuri Rythheu’s When the Whales Leave, and Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide. We’ll also be looking at performances such as Sarah Cameron Sunde’s 36.5 / A Durational Performance with the Sea and Mayfield Brooks’s Whalefall. We will not be reading all of Moby-Dick because we at Illinois are graced with a brilliant world expert on Melville who will be teaching a seminar on same. I encourage you to take Professor Jamie Jones’s course when it’s next offered. Very fortunate confluences for fall 2023 include Deke Weaver’s amazing Cetacean which will be performed in late September and a visit through the Humanities Research Institute of Alexis Pauline Gumbs on November 1. As we see waters rise, glaciers mourn, temperatures rise/fall/fluctuate, magnolias bloom in February, forests burn, and mud sliding down mountains and hills, we’ll need to think more about how we can listen to whales.