This conference brings together interdisciplinary scholars to address one of the greatest global crises in human history. We currently face the reality of a coming climate catastrophe brought about by a political and economic order that has facilitated centuries of industrial resource extraction from the planet and the mass exploitation of human populations. Due to the onset of the effects of global warming we have entered the “anthropocene,” an epoch that philosopher Isabelle Stengers believes inaugurates the moment in which human beings become conscious of the fact that our “activities transform the earth at a global scale of geology,” and that we “must therefore take responsibility for the future of the planet.” In short, we must now acknowledge that “the global climactic disorder, has well and truly begun.” This epoch poses a challenge for scholars to interrogate how diverse and often competing political and social actors are working to constitute motives by characterizing the nature of our common problematic situation.
Communicating the New Climate Regime: Confronting the Coming Barbarism will be a two-day conference held at the Memorial Student Center on the campus of Texas A&M University February 20-21, 2020, as part of its biannual Texas A&M Team Rhetoric Conference and supported by the Humanities: Land Sea Space Initiative. The conference brings together scholars from communication and related fields to address the pressing need to address climate change as a communication, scientific, economic, and political problem. The aim is both to diagnose our current situation as well as to creatively imagine new pathways of collective action. At the end of the conference, we hope to gather submissions into an edited book from a university press. The conference will also be featuring a keynote address by our 2020 Kurt Ritter Lecturer, Dr. Phaedra C. Pezzullo, who will present her recent work on “Imagining a Just Transition in an Age of Climate Precarity.”
Thanks to a generous grant from the Melbern G. Glasscock Center for Humanities Research, there will be no fee and will be free and open to the public. Those interested in submitting a paper should submit a 250 word rationale that includes a) a title of the presentation b) your position and contact information c) a description of your argument, written for an interdisciplinary audience. Email submissions to conference organizer Dr. Nathan Crick firstname.lastname@example.org. Submission deadline is December 1, 2019.
INVITED PAPER TOPICS
- RHETORIC OF SCIENCE: How has the discourse over global warming changed the way we think about the relationship between humans and the environment? How do epistemological debates influence the way we judge issues like global warming? How does the rhetoric of climate skeptics and the rhetoric of climate scientists differ from one another? How does popular science influence public opinion?
- PROPAGANDA AND POLITICAL ECONOMY: How have corporations funded climate skeptics and influenced public discourse? To what degree have economic considerations determined the news coverage of climate change? How have some interests sought to exploit climate change for their own gain, signaling a new “barbarism” and collapse of the ideal of the public sphere? What would a new political economy based on confronting global warming look like?
- RESISTANCE AND SOCIAL JUSTICE: Which tactics can be used to resist climate skepticism and rapacious exploitation? What communities will be most affected by climate change and how can we amplify when they voice to concerns? What issues of social justice become more prominent with climate change? What types of new social movements or networks have arisen and which emergent contexts are we witnessing already?
KURT RITTER LECTURER
Dr. Phaedra Pezzullo is an Associate Professor of the Department of Communication in the College of Media, Communication & Information at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Committed to public engagement in environmental communication, she has consulted with cities and NGOs on just transitions for climate change and environmental justice organizing, participated in the International Environmental Communication Association’s Climate Negotiations Working Group at COP21 in Paris, and provides training in climate science communication. Pezzullo also has lectured throughout the US and internationally, including at the Sorbonne in Paris, Fudan University in Shanghai, and the Communication University of China in Beijing. She earned her MA and PhD in Communication Studies with a certificate in Cultural Studies at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, as well as a BS in Natural Resources and a BA in Social Thought and Political Economy from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition to over thirty articles and chapters, Pezzullo authored Toxic Tourism: Rhetorics of Travel, Pollution and Environmental Justice (University of Alabama Press, 2007), which won four book awards, including the Jane Jacobs Urban Communication Book Award and the Christine L. Oravec Research Award in Environmental Communication. Pezzullo also has coauthored two editions of the award-winning textbook, Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere (Sage, 2016, 2018, with three-time Sierra Club president Robert Cox), coedited Environmental Justice and Environmentalism: The Social Justice Challenge to the Environmental Movement (MIT Press, 2007) and edited Cultural Studies and the Environment, Revisited (Routledge, 2010). She serves on six editorial boards, including Environmental Communication and the new Journal of Environmental Media. She currently is coediting a book on China and environmental communication for Michigan State University Press and coedits a new book series with University of California Press, Environmental Communication, Power, and Culture. For more info, see her professional website: https://phaedracpezzullo.com/