ENGL 103 A20: Storytelling and Eco-culture

In the ever-evolving landscape of academic exploration, literature and environmental studies have converged in recent years to give birth to a fascinating interdisciplinary course: ENGL 103 A20, “Scheherazade’s Daughters: Storytelling and Eco-culture.” This course weaves together the timeless art of storytelling and the pressing issues of our environment. By examining the intersection of literature, culture, and the environment, students embark on a journey that reveals the profound impact of stories on our understanding of ecological challenges and the ways in which we shape and are shaped by the natural world. This essay will delve into the course’s structure, objectives, and the significance of the intersection between storytelling and eco-culture.

Course Structure:

ENGL 103 A20 is structured to provide students with a comprehensive exploration of storytelling and its deep-rooted connection to ecological consciousness. The course is typically structured around the following components:

Foundations of Storytelling

The course often begins by laying a strong foundation in the art of storytelling. Students are exposed to a variety of narratives from different cultures and historical periods. They analyze classic tales like the Arabian Nights, Aesop’s Fables, and Grimm’s Fairy Tales to understand the fundamentals of storytelling. These foundational texts provide a springboard for further exploration.


The course moves on to explore the realm of eco-literature. Students examine how literature has historically depicted humanity’s relationship with the natural world. Works by authors like Henry David Thoreau, Rachel Carson, and Aldo Leopold serve as primary sources for discussions about nature, ethics, and our responsibility to the environment.

Contemporary Eco-Fiction

Students dive into the world of contemporary eco-fiction to analyze how modern authors depict environmental issues in their works. This section often includes novels, short stories, and essays by authors like Barbara Kingsolver, Margaret Atwood, and Jhumpa Lahiri. These readings offer insight into how storytelling has evolved in response to the pressing eco-challenges of our times.

Cross-Cultural Perspectives

One of the most intriguing aspects of the course is its exploration of storytelling across different cultures. Students examine indigenous stories, folktales, and oral traditions to understand how various societies have passed down ecological knowledge and values through storytelling.

Eco-culture and Identity

As the course progresses, students delve into the complex relationship between eco-culture and identity. They consider how individuals and communities construct their identities in relation to their environment. Discussions might include the role of nature in shaping cultural identity, eco-feminism, and eco-activism as forms of identity expression.

Final Projects

The course often culminates in final projects where students have the opportunity to apply what they’ve learned. These projects can take various forms, including research papers, creative writing, or multimedia presentations. They allow students to explore specific eco-cultural topics of interest.

Objectives of the Course:

ENGL 103 A20 has several key objectives that guide its exploration of storytelling and eco-culture:

Critical Thinking

The course fosters critical thinking by challenging students to analyze the narratives they encounter. They learn to deconstruct stories and identify the ecological themes, symbols, and motifs that underlie them.

Environmental Awareness

Through the study of eco-literature, students develop a deep understanding of environmental issues and their historical and contemporary contexts. This knowledge empowers them to engage meaningfully with the challenges our planet faces.

Cultural Sensitivity

The cross-cultural perspectives explored in the course promote cultural sensitivity and awareness. Students learn to appreciate diverse ways of perceiving and interacting with the environment, which is essential in our increasingly globalized world.

Creative Expression

Students are encouraged to express their understanding and ideas through creative projects. This not only deepens their engagement with the course material but also nurtures their creativity and self-expression.

Environmental Advocacy

ENGL 103 A20 instills a sense of environmental responsibility and advocacy. By connecting storytelling to eco-culture, students recognize the power of narrative in inspiring environmental action and change.

Interdisciplinary Learning

The course breaks down disciplinary boundaries and encourages students to draw from various fields such as literature, sociology, anthropology, and ecology. This interdisciplinary approach enriches their understanding of the subject matter.

Significance of Storytelling and Eco-culture:

The significance of a course like ENGL 103 A20 goes beyond the confines of the classroom. It underscores the profound relationship between storytelling and eco-culture and its relevance in today’s world. Here are some key points to consider:

Narrative as a Vehicle for Change

Stories have always been a powerful means of communication, capable of igniting social and cultural change. In the context of environmental issues, storytelling can shape public perception and inspire collective action. By examining the narratives of the past and present, students learn how stories can drive positive environmental change.

Eco-literature as a Reflection of Society

Literature often mirrors the concerns, values, and anxieties of a society. Eco-literature reflects our evolving relationship with the environment. Studying these works is a way of understanding how society’s perception of nature has transformed over time.

Diverse Perspectives and Cultural Understanding

The course emphasizes the importance of diverse perspectives. Understanding how different cultures and societies relate to the environment can foster empathy and cross-cultural understanding. This, in turn, can lead to more effective international cooperation in addressing global environmental challenges.

Personal Identity and Connection to Nature

The exploration of eco-culture and identity highlights the personal aspect of environmentalism. It invites students to reflect on their own connection to nature and how it shapes their individual and collective identities.

Preparation for Environmental Advocacy

As the world grapples with critical environmental issues, students equipped with the insights gained from this course are better prepared to advocate for environmental sustainability. They can engage in informed discussions, craft compelling narratives, and inspire others to take action.

Interdisciplinary and Holistic Understanding

ENGL 103 A20 exemplifies the benefits of interdisciplinary learning. It transcends traditional boundaries and provides students with a holistic understanding of the intricate relationship between storytelling and eco-culture.


In conclusion, ENGL 103 A20, “Scheherazade’s Daughters: Storytelling and Eco-culture,” is a captivating course that explores the deep-rooted connection between storytelling and the environment. It equips students with the critical thinking skills, environmental awareness, and cultural sensitivity needed to navigate the complex eco-cultural landscape. By understanding the power of stories in shaping our perception of the environment and our role within it, students are better prepared to address the pressing environmental challenges of our time. This course is not only a testament to the significance of the humanities in addressing global issues but also an embodiment of the transformative power of education in building a more sustainable world.

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