This course looks into the ways official and everyday discourse/texts convey information and critical expressions about environmental issues. At the heart of environmental communication lies the fascination with the intricacies of human discourse and an intrinsic belief that improving communication practices might help sway society toward more positive humanitarian and ecological practices (Slovic et al., 2019).
Environmental discourse, dating back to the 1960s, started witnessing growth in the last half century through mass mediated, visual forms of communication, bringing environmental issues to public attention. Consequently, (discourse) scholars are introducing a range of communicational practices about the environment into their research (e.g. how people talk about species extinction, climate change, ecological injustice), contending that language matters since the environmental issues are found at the intersection of ecosystems and human social systems.
With a thorough understanding of many and various ecocritical texts, students will be invited to investigate how language shapes the environment-related practices. In doing so, we will ask the following questions: How are nature and environmental processes
discursively accomplished, represented and mediatized? How is “sustainability” defined and what communication practices contribute to the transformation of “sustainability discourse”? How do people talk about their environmental behaviour? How do people discursively create places/spaces in relation to their environment?
The course aims to encourage students to engage critically with the most recent theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches to studying how people communicate their ideas about ecological as well as social, and economic imbalances in their environment. In this sense, students will experience hands-on fieldwork as they collect data while working in pairs or groups.