Rhetoric and the Environment

Judith Hendry's picture
Course number: 
Judith Hendry
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University of New Mexico
Course Description: 

The study of environmental rhetoric examines the role that rhetoric plays in establishing the meaning and value of nature and human’s relationship to the natural world. The fundamental premise underlying scholarship in this field is that the way we communicate about the natural world influences, and to a large degree, determines how we perceive and treat the natural world. Placing environmental studies in the context of communication theories and perspectives allows for a broader understanding of the fundamentally social nature of our environmental problems. Upon completion of the course, students should:
-Have an awareness and understanding of the role of rhetoric in constructing the ways in which we view and treat the natural world;
-Be well-informed of the many environmental problems we currently face and their implications;
-Be aware of the multiple sites of meaning-making and the rhetorical forms that shape the discourse of environmental advocacy, politics, and science;
-Have and understanding of the various environmental philosophies and perspectives that ground environmental thinking;
-Have an understanding of the role of mass-mediated discourses (e.g. the messages of popular culture, green marketing, news reporting) in shaping how we view and treat the natural world.