Remediating the Environment

ENGL 2596, CIMS 2596

Jane Robbins Mize

MW, 5:15-6:45PM

Remediating the Environment

In this interdisciplinary course, we will interrogate the term “remediation” as meaning both environmental restoration and media representation. Students will be introduced to the fields of ecocriticism and ecomedia by examining how a variety of media—from bestselling books to billboards, documentaries, and websites—have informed the cultural imagination of the environment. Students will also discover how media communications and publications about the environment can help to remediate the environment in the face of climate catastrophe. Weekly readings will include touchstone works of environmental scholarship and media including Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower. We will also examine non-print media such as NHPR’s podcast Windfall, the 2021 documentary Manzanar, Diverted: When Water Becomes Dust, and experimental work such as Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel’s film, Leviathan. 

Lastly, course readings (and viewings and listenings and lookings) as well as assignments will emphasize publicly engaged work. Throughout the semester, students will create small- and large-scale publications that communicate with and about the environment—from zines to Tik Toks to protest banners. For their final project, students will have the opportunity to generate a creative publication in collaboration with a community organization that serves the public. We will ask questions such as: How does one effectively collaborate with a multi-faceted organization? How does one identify and reach an audience? What publics do publications serve—and which media are best suited to environmental remediation? 

This course can be counted as an elective toward the Environmental Humanities minor and as fulfilling the minor's public engagement component.

Image: A pollinator field at a Superfund site in Delaware. A fence and greenery is in the foreground. Beyond is a massive building of steel and brick.

Spring 2023