Project Archive: LIT 200: Introduction to Literary Studies with Sustainability Intersections

This is a snapshot of project information archived on 2 September 2022. Please contact the project team for most recent updates.

LIT 200: Introduction to Literary Studies with Sustainability Intersections

Subject: Literature

Book Language: English

Audience: English, American Literature, Spanish & World Literature, & Writing / Composition Students

Book Cover:


Created date: February 17, 2022

Updated date: April 7, 2022

Target Release Date: 2023-01-31


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In this introductory literary studies class offers literary works of a wide array of geographic regions, traditions, and languages in English translation with a backward design lesson plan and equity TILT assignment framework. Organized by theme, the reading list defies limitations to literary inquiry in comparisons of literary traditions - like those between tales from

Arabian Nights

to orientalist texts on folklore. Drama, poetry, and the narrative inspire cross continental conversations on the culture of literature for learners and instructors alike when we place Eastern drama with the works of Shakespeare and Goethe. The reading list also demarcates variations on themes to honor the nuances of ideologies, social norms and values so we can witness identity formations and calls for reform and collective participation, as we grow to understand the role literature plays in the past and today. Driven by authors and non-Western traditions like Native American oral story cycle traditions to Eastern puppetry and allusions to Greek mythology by Renaissance writers like Christine de Pizan and Sor Juana de la Cruz, this theme-based literary studies class also promotes global and local concerns on sustainability through the United Nations SDG criteria, via a collaborate small group capstone project on topics like gender, working classes, and natural resources. This class aims to provide an inclusive and representational experience. Instructional approaches are also informed by culturally relevant studies, the work of HUE Institute and recent LGBTQIAP research by Megan E. Springate of NPS 2016 historic sites LGBTQ initiative.

Short Description:


Learners of literature experience an “Introduction to Literary Studies” book that is diverse in its content and critical approaches. This presentation upholds culturally relevant concerns of our day through ecocriticism and on topics inspired by the UN Sustainability Guide. This book supports students in their journey of understanding traditions of literary texts: oral-traditions, poetry, drama, songs, epics, folktales and the narrative and engagement with peers in its capstone team-driven project. Ultimately, this book serves to celebrate the joy of literature and is dedicated to interpretative and critical talents. Students walk away with newly gained appreciation and applied critical methods to place literary studies at the forefront of their experiences as we all face current challenges with conserving the environment and addressing sustainability.



This introduction to literary studies textbook celebrates the stories, poems, songs, and dramatic performances from time immemorial still present today in some form or another - in comics, film, animation, novels and even podcasts. Let’s begin our journey in appreciating this rich tradition by understanding what literature means today as ‘written down texts’. But, let’s also value their origins and influences which at times are visual, musical, and performed in many ways. All of the featured texts in this book are presented by theme and region. This offers you a comparative outlook of the works as you have as this book guides you to refine your reading skills as you work with a handful of literary devices at at time.

This book is driven by you. You learn as you select works to build on an appreciation of them and their audience’s needs


We also offer you options on ‘how to interpret’ chosen literary works as you build your own familiarity with the basics - like identifying literary terms and aspects of their form and style. The options include traditional ones and more recent invaluable ones - like those that pertain to ecocriticism and sustainability, the learning of the role of the environment and lifeforms in literary texts so we can reimagine your, our own place and relationship with our surroundings. Traditional views of texts come from the New Criticism movement, whereby the learning of texts solely focus on the form and style of a piece of literature over its content. Other interpretative approaches come from modernism, the learning of how literary texts that address the debilitating forces of their times; the exponential influences of modern life; modernity.

Interpretative Approaches

And other recent approaches like cultural studies, feminism, and film studies. This textbook offers assignments and projects that utilize secondary sources to build on your initial understanding of a piece of literature.

Part 1 - Homelands - Stories about our origins and sense of community and place

Let’s start our familiarity with literature by revisiting stories of our homelands - in the form of the epic in the first part of this course. Here, we can familiarize ourselves with the ‘ancient’ and oral traditions of stories telling and its key elements - heroes who go on journeys, telling of how a people came to be, and referencing the living environment around them that ultimately means home to them.

Overview of learning

Let’s begin to understand what ‘literature’ looks like by working with stories that we have shared and told about the places we are from; our homelands.

Showcase the stories by theme and geography

The Epic by Region

The Middle East

Old Testament’s “Book 1 & 2: Genesis” (Mesopotamian mythology, Near Middle East, 600 BC) intersections with Epic of Gilgamesh (Sumerian oral tradition, 2000 BC)

West Africa

Let’s start with an epic that may seem very familiar since its main hero is the Lion King, in Sundiata, an oral epic by the Mali people of Western Africa. This oral story was memorized and shared in the 1400s and we witness a written version that highlights how older stories were performed and ritualized. Secondary sources inform us on how the epics of the past inspire new stories and in more recent genres like Black Panther comics.

The Americas

Let’s then build on our familiarity with the epic by witnessing variations of this form of storytelling about homelands in excerpts from Popul Vuh and creation mythologies by the Iroquios of Northern. Here we witness origin stories of a different landscape and of varied fauna and flora. Secondary sources offer insights on informing us on how agriculture in the Americas was established, a new form of sustenance that is highly regarded in the stories that are told on homelands. Like the epic of the Mali people of Western Africa, these stories also originate in oral traditions of stories that were memorized and shared. Our written versions hint at these older storytelling performances.

The Mediterranean

Let’s then build on any prior familiarity of Biblical and Greek mythology b) Greek myth: birth of Aphrodite (Classical Greece, 700 BC literary era of Homer & Hesiod) intersections with mythologies of the Americas; origin myths (Castration of Uranus)

Critical Reading Approaches to identify a handful of literary devices

the epic, mythology, protagonist, irony, metaphor, plot, setting

Options of Critical Reading Techniques to practice and build your analytical skills

1st analytical approach is to identify and interpret how a people above relate to and address the environment around them - lifeforms like plants, trees, and mountains and living creatures like mammal, birds, and those who live in the sea. This approach operates on an interpretative approach known as ‘ecocriticism. Since this is an introductory course we should ease on in on theoretical approaches.

2nd analytical The options help you to develop interpretations on our environment, the cultural aspects of a texas, and other intepretative frameworks like the New Criticism - which places a high priority on form and style over content, and aspects of modernism and postmodernism including Feminism and film studies.

Part 2 Falls of Civilizations / Empires & Migrations & Settlements:


Medieval Europe [1300-1400s]

Through the work of Christine de Pizan - she wrote in 1400s medieval France and satirized [mis] representations of female figures from the Bible and Greek storytelling traditions in The Book of the City of Ladies. Like Alexander Pope, de Pizan satires the epic.

New Spain [Mexico, 1600s]

Sor Juana de la Cruz offers her biting text on how she confronts the authority of the Catholic church to uphold her freedoms to write poems and dramatic plays.

The Golden Age Spain (1600s)

The options help you to develop interpretations on our environment, the cultural aspects of a texts, and other interpretative frameworks like the New Criticism - which places a high priority on form and style over content, and aspects of modernism and postmodernism including Feminism and film studies. with views literature as textual - that what is written - and also honors the role of the visual, music, and performance that in many cases are part of the text or its origins come from oral and performed traditions.

Part 3 - Capstone Project

Overview of learning



Good day,

Please let me know how I may upload the rest of my book.

Professor Lis H. Espinoza