This article considers the pedagogical implications of climate change and other environmental catastrophes of the Anthropocene, the new geological epoch identified by climate scientists. In the Anthropocene, the human species has become the most significant force shaping Earth’s geosphere and is responsible for a number of anxiety-producing effects beyond the rise of global temperatures. As erratic weather patterns and extreme weather events have increased, climatologists have been perfecting new methods of single-event attribution capable of linking particular adverse weather events (including droughts, heat waves, flooding tornadoes, and hurricanes) directly to climate change. To provide a concrete example of those universal trends, the author applies her experiences in teaching in Texas, which is strongly marked by long-term forces of anthropogenic environmental devastation (such as the northward migration of the oak trees and alterations in the lithosphere caused by oil extraction). It has also been impacted by hurricanes, floods, and freezes that delayed the onset of the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters and, in many cases, damaged or destroyed her students’ homes at Texas A&M. The article recounts the strategies that her learning community used to adjust to these exigencies and then offers suggestions for adapting these strategies to other locales.
Teaching in Stormy Weather
Shawna Ross is assistant professor of British literature and the digital humanities at Texas A&M University. Her cowritten publications include Using Digital Humanities in the Classroom and Reading Modernism with Machines. Her current book projects include Charlotte Brontë at the Anthropocene and Leisured Fictions: Hotels, Ocean Liners, and the Scene of Transatlantic Modernism. Her work may be seen in Digital Humanities Quarterly, the Journal of Interactive Pedagogy, the Journal of Modern Literature, Victorians, and the Henry James Review.
Shawna Ross; Teaching in Stormy Weather. Pedagogy 1 October 2019; 19 (3): 513–517. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/15314200-7615468
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