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Environmental Writing: Rhetorical Strategies for Complex Ecological Issues



Given the accelerating language of environmental disaster—airpocalypse, ecocide, global collapse—is optimism still required or desirable in environmental writing? In this course, we will examine the range of rhetorical strategies that environmental writers have used to create a sense of urgency or even doom, and students will practice their own nonfiction writing in the critical essay and research essay forms. We will read work that disrupts the pastoral mode of traditional nature writing, that draws on the manifesto, that deploys logic with the reasoned marshaling of scientific fact.

Our overarching question will be: What is effective environmental writing? Can there be a new mode of environmental writing that escapes the rhetorical eddies of the past—the mourning of the disaster, the turn toward hope? How might we write ourselves into the age to follow the Anthropocene?




Expository Writing 01:355:101 or its equivalent

Course Syllabus

Course Professors

    Not currently taught.
  1. Rutgers
  2. New Brunswick
Department of Human Ecology