Greenspeech: Communication and the Environment

Marilyn DeLaure

COMS 195
Core A1

Course Description:

This class examines how communication shapes our understandings of, and interactions with, the environment.  Over the course of the semester, we’ll consider these questions: How do we define “the environment” and distinguish between “nature” and “culture”?  What are the most pressing ecological problems facing us today?  How do scientists, activists, elected officials, and ordinary citizens deliberate over environmental issues, and how do the media frame these debates?  What is the relationship between environmentalism and social justice?  And how can you develop your voice to become a powerful advocate for the environment?

Together we will explore our local San Francisco environment through readings, discussions, and field trips; we’ll also learn about contemporary environmental problems and various forms of activism seeking to address those problems.  Students will sharpen their speaking skills, hone their critical thinking abilities, and educate one another through a series of speech assignments rooted in environmental topics.

Faculty Bio:

Marilyn (Bordwell) DeLaure holds a B.A. from Drake University and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.  She teaches rhetoric in the Communication Studies Department and served as Director of USF’s Public Speaking Program from 2007 to 2010.  Her research investigates how people effect social change, focusing especially on embodied performance. She has published numerous essays on environmental activism, civil rights rhetoric, and dance.