Call for Papers for the 2003 Conference on Communication and Environment

The 7th Biennial Conference on Communication and the Environment (COCE 2003)

Conference co-directors:

Gregg Walker, Oregon State University

William Kinsella, Lewis and Clark College


19-22 July 2003 (Saturday afternoon through Tuesday afternoon)


Silver Falls Conference Center, in Silver Falls State Park, Sublimity, Oregon

The Silver Falls Conference Center is about 60 miles (85 kilometers) southeast of Portland, Oregon, in the foothills of the Cascades mountain range. The Center is about an 80 minute drive (65 miles) from Portland International Airport (PDX).


Department of Speech Communication, Oregon State University

College of Liberal Arts, Oregon State University

Department of Communication, Lewis and Clark College

Social Sciences Division, Lewis and Clark College



"Finding Our Way(s) in Environmental Communication: Ways of Knowing, Ways of Learning, Ways of Deciding"


COCE 2003 will feature paper presentations, panel and roundtable discussions, and plenary sessions on issues of environmental communication. COCE 2003 will schedule presentation, panel, and plenary events in the mornings, early afternoons, and evenings. Sunday and Monday late afternoons will feature time for recreational activities, such as hiking, swimming, bicycling, and horseback riding.


The deadline for receipt of submissions is 15 March 2003 (the "Ides of March"). Details follow.


The conference intends to bring together environmental communication scholars, environmental and community activists, practitioners, and environmental decision makers who are concerned about communication issues (such as advocacy, media, education, public participation, conflict resolution) in environmental matters. We hope that the conference provides an opportunity for participants to engage in meaningful dialogue, whether one is a scholar addressing theories or empirical work about environmental policy matters, a practitioner studying and facilitating community-based collaboration, an activist concerned with issues of power and voice, or an organizational decision maker seeking innovative ways to address complex and controversial environmental policy situations.

We invite papers and panel proposals that contribute to the theory and practice of environmental communication. For purposes of this conference, "environmental communication" is broadly conceived. Consistent with areas identified in the new Environmental Communication Yearbook (available from LEA Press, to be published in 2003), the conference welcomes work that relates to participatory processes (including decision-making and conflict resolution); journalism and mass communication (including print, electronic, and web-based media); and communication studies (including rhetorical critiques and case studies, public relations, and risk communication). Applied, critical, and theoretical explorations of these areas are appropriate, regardless of method (e.g., ethnographic, quantitative) or setting (e.g., local, regional, global). In keeping with the tradition of the previous six Conferences on Communication and the Environment, papers and panel proposals that are not related to the 2003 Conference theme are also welcome.


The conference theme suggests a number of (overlapping) areas of inquiry, including, but not limited to:

Ways of Knowing

Sub-themes: Technical and Traditional Knowledge

Stories of the Present and from the Past

Possible points of inquiry include:

  • The relevance of indigenous knowledge to environmental policy and practice

  • Critiques of the models and mechanisms of "scientific and technical" communication

  • Scientist-citizen interaction

  • Does "technical" knowledge hold a privileged position in environmental decision-making?

  • Forums for local knowledge and voices

  • Connections between ways of knowing and governance

  • Acknowledging and respecting varied ways on knowing in institutional contexts

  • The relationship between ways of knowing and new communication technologies

  • Indigenous knowledge and the Lewis and Clark expedition

  • Sustainability and oral tradition

  • Community stories and legends about environmental justice

Ways of Learning

Sub-themes: Learning-based Public Participation

Inquiry and Advocacy

Possible points of inquiry include:

  • Ethnographic approaches for studying environmental communication

  • Ethics of inquiry

  • The researcher's voice

  • Academic research and public activism

  • Strategies of appeal and litigation

  • Fostering mutual learning

  • Human and social capital

  • Building capacity: individual, community, institutional

  • Assessing environmental policy situations

  • Addressing complexity and controversy

  • Social movement communication and public participation

  • Public communication campaigns

  • Learning styles and public participation processes

  • Environmental education and interpretation

Ways of Deciding

Sub-themes: Innovative Approaches for Public Participation and Conflict Resolution

Leadership and Organizational Change

Possible points of inquiry include:

  • Case studies in collaboration and consensus-building

  • Alternative dispute resolution methods, e.g., mediation

  • Facilitating multi-party processes

  • Collaborating internally as a prerequisite to collaborating externally

  • Inter-agency collaboration

  • Power and consensus decisions

  • The impact of traditional and new media on participation and decision making.

  • Procedural justice

  • Organizational capacity

  • Organizational roles in collaboration and consensus

  • Pluralism and leadership

  • Dialogue, deliberation, and decisions



The 2003 Conference on Communication and the Environment will produce two publications. We are seeking a publisher for a book that will include the top 12-16 essays that address the Conference theme. We will also publish a set of Conference proceedings. We intend to pursue an on-line publication of the Conference proceedings as well as publishing a hard-copy version.



Four "hard" copies of papers or panel proposals should be mailed to:

Gregg Walker, Conference Co-Director

COCE 2003

Department of Speech Communication

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR 97331-6199

The deadline for receipt of Conference submissions is 15 March 2003.



1. We will accept completed papers and extended abstracts on the Conference theme, panel proposals on the Conference theme, completed papers and extended abstracts not on the Conference theme, and thematic panel proposals on a non-Conference theme. Brief (e.g., one page) abstracts will not be considered for inclusion in the Conference.

2. Anyone wishing to have their essay considered for publication in the book must submit the completed paper by the beginning of the conference on 19 July 2003.

3. Full papers should be submitted with a cover page that includes the title of the manuscript, the author's name and affiliation, and contact information. A second separate page should include the title and a one paragraph abstract of no more than 200 words. Manuscripts should be typed and double-spaced with notes and references on separate sheets, immediately following the text. Manuscripts should be no longer than 8000 words (including text and references).

4. Extended abstracts should be submitted with a cover page that includes the title of the manuscript, the author's name and affiliation, and contact information. The abstract itself should be 3 to 6 pages, typed and double-spaced. The abstract should present the intended depth and breadth of the paper, along with key references.

5. All panel proposals must include: a rationale for the panel and a one-page abstract of each paper, along with a commitment of each participant to attend the conference if the panel is accepted. Any panel that involves a respondent must include a rationale for including a respondent.

6. Only completed papers submitted at the beginning of the conference will be published in the conference proceedings and considered for the possible supplemental book project. Participants must submit two hard copies, and an appropriately formatted computer diskette copy, of the manuscript at the start of the conference. Papers accepted for publication in the Conference Proceedings must follow the APA style manual (e.g., 4th Ed., 1994). We reserve the right to omit papers not conforming to final manuscript guidelines (which authors will receive with notifications of acceptance).



COCE 2003 will utilize the entire conference center. Silver Falls Conference Center includes double occupancy cabins and lodge rooms for 76 people.

OPTION 1: Lodging at Silver Falls Conference Center. The Conference Center includes four lodges each with six double occupancy rooms and a number of double occupancy individual cabins. Summer 2003 lodging rates at the Conference Center will be about $60 per night, double occupancy. These rates include overnight accommodations, all meals, use of meeting halls, audio-visual equipment and housekeeping services. All Conference Center facilities are smoke-free.

NOTE: Reservations for lodging at the Silver Falls Conference Center must be made through Oregon State University. To secure Silver Falls Conference Center lodging, send a lodging request and a $60.00 US first night's deposit (check or money order) and information about roommate or meal preferences (e.g., vegetarian) to: Loril Chandler, Department of Speech Communication, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331-6199. Make the check or money order payable to Department of Speech Communication.

OPTION 2: Lodging at the Best Western Sunrise Inn, Sublimity, Oregon, 15 miles from Silver Falls Conference Center. The Sunrise Inn offers single and double occupancy rooms at rates from $60 to $80 per night. The Inn has an indoor pool and offers a continental breakfast. COCE participants staying at the Sunrise Inn can purchase individual meals at the Silver Falls Conference Center. Web site:

NOTE: The Best Western Sunrise Inn is an excellent facility that does take credit cards (Silver Falls Conference Center does not). It provides both non-smoking and smoking rooms and has an indoor pool. Make room reservations directly and mention the COCE Conference, although better rates may be AAA, AARP, or government.

OPTION 3: Camping in Silver Falls State Park. The park offers excellent tent and RV/trailer camping facilities. Reservations are required. For more information, consult the Silver Falls State Park website:

OPTION 4: There are a number of bed and breakfast lodging options within 20 miles of Silver Falls State Park. There are also numerous motels in Salem OR, 25 miles away. For more information, see the following websites:,,



COCE 2003 staff will provide morning and evening shuttle service between the Sunrise Inn and the Silver Falls Conference Center. Limited shuttle service will be available between Portland International Airport and Silver Falls Conference Center.



COCE 2003 information will be posted on the Oregon State University Department of Speech Communication website: or contact one the following people:

Gregg Walker, Conference Co-director

COCE 2003

Department of Speech Communication

Oregon State University

Corvallis, OR 97331-6199

ph: 541-737-5397; fax: 541-737-4443


William Kinsella, Conference Co-director

COCE 2003

Department of Communication

Lewis and Clark College

Portland, OR 97219

ph: 503-232-3757