Communicating Climate Change: Language and Data
Clear communication about climate change has become a goal of journalists, politicians, scientists, writers, artists and more. This program will introduce tools from linguistics and mathematics that can help us dissect the methods and the messages of these communications. Students will read climate fiction, scientific research reports, news and opinion articles, graphs, charts, tables, etc. We will evaluate the content of these sources and discuss their accuracy and efficacy. We will use linguistic and quantitative reasoning to support our analysis, and students will practice writing that “translates” information from one mode or genre into others.
Class time will include regular workshops in linguistic analysis (particularly elements of semantics, pragmatics and discourse analysis) and quantitative reasoning (developing numeracy skills, facility with the representation of data, and an awareness of misrepresentations that use quantitative framing). Assignments will include writing essays and short research papers, in-class presentations, substantial reading assignments from a variety of genres, including fiction and scientific articles, web annotation of readings, and small group projects. To broaden our understanding of the impacts of climate change on communities, we will seminar regularly with students from the Climate Academy class, and attend guest lectures by experts on the theme of Climate Justice and Resilience. (This class should therefore should not be taken in addition to Climate Academy.)
This program will be offered entirely online. To successfully participate in this program, students will need reliable internet access, a computer/laptop with a camera and microphone, and access to word processing and spreadsheet software. Students can expect the remote classtime to be around 8-10 hours of synchronous (scheduled) coursework per week, using Canvas and Zoom. Students will have access to alternatives to synchronous participation if conditions require.
Course Reference Numbers
communication, climate studies, environmental studies