Rhetorical Places – Green Rhetoric
119 001 | CCN: 33146
Instructor: Norman Dale Carrico
Location: Dwinelle 7415
Date / Time: Mo/We/Fr 10:00am - 10:59am
Of what does “Greenness” consist? In whom does “Greenness” abide? Just what might “Greenness” be good for? In this course we will survey a range of key vocabularies in environmental thought and activism — Deep Ecology, eco-socialism, eco-feminism, environmental racism and environmental justice, permaculture, disaster capitalism, and futurological geo-engineering — as well as engage American themes and histories, from Transcendentalism to wilderness conservation (or exterminism), from the Land Ethic to water protectors, from corporate misinformation to consumer lifestyle ecology. We will delve into what seem to be prevalent rhetorical strategies to communicate the urgency of environmental crises and mobilize sufficient constituencies to address them. What is compelling or not about current forms of environmental journalism and activism? What delights lie in store for the reader of international agreements on climate change and policy papers available from the Environmental Protection Agency? Does the scientificity of statistics lend force to environmental claims or alienate people from narratives of lived distress and shared threat? If liberal governance is inadequate to address environmental catastrophe are efforts to circumvent the political via macro-design strategies or micro-mindfulness lifeways more likely to succeed? Does the proliferation of environmentalist identities and subcultures facilitate necessary political organization or undermine it or simply reveal its ineradicable intersectional stratification? We will even ponder why so many environmentalist websites make recourse to similar color palettes and fonts and images. Our focus will never drift far from current dilemmas, but the premise of the course is that these dilemmas are illuminated by critical vocabularies just as the critical vocabularies are substantiated by the dilemmas to which they are applied. At the end of the term, each student will create a conceptual-keyword map tracing their own course through the assigned materials and finding their own settlement within them, however unsettling it may be.