Phaedra C. Pezzullo
Associate Professor
Dept of Communication & Culture
Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana, U.S.A.). Email: pezzullo[AT]

Education: Ph.D., Communication Studies,
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 2002
Certificate in Cultural Studies,
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1999
M A., Communication Studies,
University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, 1998
B.A., Social Thought & Political Economy,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1996
B.S., Natural Resource Studies,
University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1996


  CV (pdf)






My research, teaching, and service primarily engage environmental communication, environmental justice studies, tourist studies, and social movement studies.
My perspective is informed by interdisciplinary training in the humanities and the sciences and is motivated by pressing issues of sustainability raised by contemporary environmental and environmental justice movements, as well as ecological crises and democratic solutions. I draw upon ethnographic participant observation fieldwork, qualitative interviews, my own advocacy, popular texts across media, news archives, government documents, and contemporary critical theoretical perspectives.

My first book, Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Travel, Pollution, and Environmental Justice, focuses on environmental justice movement's use of noncommercial advocacy tours, called "toxic tours" by those that organize them. Toxic tours rhetorically function to publicize persistent residential segregation, environmental racism, environmental classism, reproductive and gendered politics, public health concerns, local definitions of place, and the impacts of the ongoing toxification of our world. They reveal a great deal about environmental injustices in North America, as well as ways that tourist studies could benefit from studying nonprofit tours in the future. For more information about my book and on-line examples of toxic tours focused primarily on impacts of the petrochemical economy, click here.

My first co-edited book focuses on the relationship between the environmental and environmental justice movements in the new millennium. The volume includes scholars from a range of disciplines, including: communication studies, anthropology, sociology, philosophy, public policy, and natural resource sciences. Overall, we illustrate how the two movements have successfully worked together and, at times, have compelling reasons to remain two distinct movements across a range of topics (including but not limited to climate justice, sustainability, and indigenous rights) both in North America and globally. For more information, click here.

My first textbook is forthcoming in 2015. It is an honor to join my mentor and former Sierra Club President, Robert Cox, as his coauthor in the Fourth Edition of the foundational textbook of the discipline of environmental communication. Along with our focus on human communication and the public sphere, this edition involves a comprehensive introduction to the study of environmental communication, new and expanded chapters (including on visual and popular culture, digital media, and science communication), an updated emphasis on climate communication (including climate justice movements and climate scientists), and more.
For more information,
click here.

A special environmental issue of the journal, Cultural Studies, which I edited, was published in May 2008 and republished as a book (2010, Routledge). My introduction is a brief overture about the politics and poetics of the "environment," which Raymond Williams called "the most complicated word" in the English language. Despite the rich possibilities the future holds, I argue cultural studies has been slow to engage environmental issues and, when it does, it tends to be for reasons that attempt to undercut environmental social movements (with notable exceptions, particularly from outside the American-Anglo-Australian tradition ). For a PDF of the introduction, click here. This is a list of the Table of Contents:

Currently, my research is focusing on the limitations and possibilities of rhetorical agency in the late age of fossil fuels. In addition to making connections across contexts, I am invested in studying specific conjunctures, including but not limited to the need to update U.S. toxic legislation, as well as the possibilities of imagining global solidarity among climate justice activists from the Philippines to the U.S. This advocacy calls for new ways of imagining everyday life, communities, and global politics as resilient and regenerative.

I have made many of my essays available at my page, including work on "dark tourism," tourism in southern Louisiana pre- and post-Katrina, the birthplace of the environmental justice movement (Warren County, North Carolina), the banality of nuclear pollution, challenges communication scholars face as we shift away from fossil fuels, and more.

Website last updated: 2014.

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