This is Fine - Humor, Media, and Climate Change

Fall 2020
Summer 2020
Kent Linthicum
ENGL 1101
Recent IPCC predictions argue that the world has ten years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by half. Ten years to take a range of overlapping and dependent cultural, economic, and technological systems and reduce their carbon footprint by half. And only about thirty years to make these systems carbon neutral. The world Tech students will enter after ‘getting out’ will be dramatically warmer and more unstable that the one their parents and grandparents entered. Using Nicole Seymour’s concept of “Bad Environmentalism” this class will explore humor and irony under climate change and their effects. In other words, can laughing while the world burns actually help deal with the fire? Furthermore, because the class is focused on 21st century communication, it will also investigate digital communication and its affordances. As a Serve-Learn-Sustain affiliated course, this class will identify relationships among ecological, social, and economic systems, with an especially focus on communities and environmental justice. Ultimately, the course will ask, can humor and memes help save the world? Can they inspire action in the face of overwhelming crisis? Or are they just a way for us to feel comfortable as things fall apart as the world we know slouches towards its end? Through all this the class will highlight the forms of WOVEN (written, oral, visual, electronic, and nonverbal) communication as we consider how to communicate climate change in the 21st century. In order to develop and deploy rhetorical knowledge students will compose and design critical analyses, posters, speeches, memes, and other texts. Other graded elements will include project brainstorms, outlines, peer review, and shorter reflections. Ultimately, the course will provide students with opportunities to discuss, practice, and reflect on rhetoric alongside the tools to critique media ecologies of climate change.
Course type: 
Course Level: 
Partner Engagement: