Communication and Culture | The Study of Public Advocacy (Topic: U.S. Environmental Movements and Public Spheres)
C406 | 24069 | Phaedra C. Pezzullo

TuTh, 2:30 PM-3:45 PM, Location: TBA

A portion of this course reserved for majors

Instructor: Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Office: Mottier Hall 206
Phone: 855-2106
Instructor’s Website:

This spring, C406 is designed to focus on U.S. public advocacy about
the environment.  To do so, we will be examining the histories of
grassroots environmental, environmental justice, and
anti-environmental movements.  As a course grounded in a rhetorical
perspective, we also will be developing our skills as advocates and
critics of issues related to environmental advocacy.  In other words,
our primary goal is to focus on how people communicate with, about,
and in the environment as rhetorical agents in public culture or what
is called “the public sphere.”  Specifically, we will emphasize what
have been the constraints—both the limitations and the
possibilities—of persuading U.S. publics about environmental concerns.

Our readings reflect the vast range of environmental issues
encompassed by the course objectives, from the creation of national
parks to the impacts of environmental racism on toxically assaulted
communities to the success of environmental backlash today in rolling
back environmental protections and infrastructure.  In doing so, we
also will consider a variety of public advocacy practices, including
travel/tourism, slide shows, boycotts, civil disobedience, public
participation, and media campaigns. In addition to lectures,
presentations, and exams, active and informed engagement with these
timely and important topics is expected in the classroom.

Required readings most likely will be:

Cox, J. Robert.  (2006). Environmental Communication and the Public
Sphere. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.  ISBN: 0761930507

Nash, Roderick. (2001, fourth edition).  Wilderness and the American
Mind.  New Haven: Yale UP.  ISBN: 0-300-02910-1

Bullard, Robert D. (2005).  The Quest for Environmental Justice: Human
Rights and the Politics of Pollution. San Francisco, CA: Sierra Club.
ISBN: 1578051207

Helvarg, David. (2004, revised edition).  The War Against the Greens:
The "Wise-Use"
Movement, the New Right, and the Browning of America. San Francisco,
CA: Sierra Club. ISBN: 1555663281


Midterm Exam: 		        25%
Final Exam:			25%
Two Position Papers:		30% (15%, 4-5 pages each)
Group Debate Presentation: 	20%