Sunday, August 30, 2009

Everyday Click

I've placed five regularly updated news aggregation and commentary sites up on the sidebar. This is to help you take up and take on the buzz in Green politics, policies, and self-identified cultures with which we will be grappling together at the beginning of each class meeting. Of course, this week ahead of us we'll be doing personal introductions to the course community and then screening a film, so there won't be time for these opening conversations Week One. But this gives you a preliminary week to get in the habit of skimming these materials for your own issues and interested, becoming conversant with the contours of the discourse generally, and so on. And of course even if we aren't taking these topics on for a week in our sessions outright, it is always fine to discuss them here on the blog itself, whatever else we are up to. Invitations to the blog are forthcoming, and most of you should be in a position to post presently.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Rhetoric 181: Green Rhetoric
Fall 2009

Tu/Th 5-6.30 156 Dwinelle
Instructor: Dale Carrico;
Course Site:

Provisional Grade Breakdown:
Att/Part 20%; Co-facilitation/Precis 20%; In-Class Report 20%; Final Exam: 40%

Provisional Schedule of Classes


August 27 -- Administrative Introduction

Supplementary Readings:
Oscar Wilde, The Decay of Lying
John Stuart Mill, On Nature

Week One | Introductions

September 1 -- Personal Introductions
September 3 -- Screening: "An Inconvenient Truth"

Week Two | Green Idols and Precursors

September 8 --

Curtis White, The Idols of Environmentalism
Curtis White, The Ecology of Work
Aldo Leopold, The Land Ethic
Aldo Leopold, Thinking Like a Mountain

September 10

Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature
Henry David Thoreau Walden

Week Three | Deep Ecology and Deep Economy

September 15

Arne Naess, The Shallow and the Deep
Arne Naess and George SessionsDeep Ecology Platform
Alan Drengson, Deep Ecology Movement
Church of Deep Ecology

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Olivia Hanning; Jeremy Park

September 17

Murray Bookchin, Social Ecology Versus Deep Ecology
Bill McKibben, Reversal of Fortune
An Interview with E. F. Schumacher

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Week Four | Political Ecology, Green Urbanity

Tuesday, September 22

Mike Davis, Slum Ecology
Mike Davis and Anthony Fontenot Twenty-five Questions about the Murder of the Big Easy
Mike Davis, Sinister Paradise: Does the Road to the Future End at Dubai?
David Biello, Eco-Cities: Urban Planning for the Future
Frank Lloyd Wright, A City for the Future
Frank Lloyd Wright, Broadacre City Project
Frank Lloyd Wright, Broadacre City Plan
Paolo Soleri, Arcosanti

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Shannon Kelli

Thursday, September 24

Architecture for Humanity: Completed Projects
Architecture 2030
Going Green....Is it the Elephant in the Room?

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Tessa Stuart;

Week Five | Eco-feminism

Tuesday, September 29

Cathleen McGuire and Colleen McGuire, Ecofeminist Visions
Rosemary Radford Reuther, Ecofeminism
Catherine Keller, Dark Vibrations: Ecofeminism and the Democracy of Creation

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Audrey Noelani Vavia;

Thursday, October 1

Catriona Mortimer-Sandilands, Unnatural Passions: Notes Toward a Queer Ecology
UNIFEM, Women, Climate Change, and Refugees
Amy Goodman, Sedatives and Sex Hormones in Our Water Supply
Interview with Vandana Shiva

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Andrea Bella;

Week Six | Environmental Justice

Tuesday, October 6

The Rio Declaration
The Johannesburg Declaration
EPA Environmental Justice FAQ
About the Environmental Justice Foundation
Ludovic Blain, Ain't I An Environmentalist?

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Thursday, October 8

Robert D. Bullard, Ph.D., Poverty, Pollution, and Environmental Racism
Environmental Racism Study Finds Levels Of Inequality Defy Simple Explanation
Lisa Campbell Salazar, National Parks and Environmental Racism
Minority Communities Need More Parks

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Week Seven | Eco-socialism and Social Ecology

Tuesday, October 13

An Ecosocialist Manifesto by Joel Kovel and Michael Lowy
Joel Kovel, Why Ecosocialism Today?
Common Voice, Ecosocialism

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Thursday, October 15

James O'Conner: Selling Nature
James Boyle, Enclosing the Genome
Vandana Shiva, The US Patent System Legalizes Theft and Biopiracy
Richard Stallman, Biopiracy or Bioprivateering?

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Karena Ajamian;

Week Eight | Natural Capitalism and Greenwashing

Tuesday, October 20

Paul Hawken: Natural Capitalism
A Roadmap for Natural Capitalism, Amory Lovins, Hunter Lovins, Paul Hawken
Michael Albert: Natural Capitalism?
OpenPolitics Critiques of Paul Hawken and Natural Capitalism
Balancing Act
About Triplepundit

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: James Dozier;

Thursday, October 22

What Is Greenwashing?
How Greenwashing Works
Greenwashing Index
Peter Barnes: Capitalism, 3.0
Time to Upgrade
A Short History of Capitalism
The Limits of Government
The Limits of Privatization
Reinventing the Commons
Trusteeship of Creation
Universal Birthrights
Sharing Culture
Building the Commons Sector
What You Can Do

Cap and Trade Musical Chairs
Cap-and-Trade More Effective than Carbon Tax
Carry on Polluting
Did Environmentalists Get Played on Cap and Trade?

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Week Nine | Bright Green or Dim? Sustainable Technoculture and Techno-Utopian Futurology

Tuesday, October 27

Bruce Sterling, Viridian Design Speech
Bruce Sterling, Manifesto of January 3, 2000
Bruce Sterling, Viridian Principles
Bruce Sterling, Last Viridian Note
Grist on Worldchanging's Bright Green Principles (read the Comments!)
Worldchanging Geoengineering Retrospective
Time Magazine on Geoengineering
Lifeboat Foundation "ClimateShield"

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Thursday, October 29

National Geographic, Toxic Computer
When 1st Life Meets 2nd Life
Richard Barbrook and Andy Cameron, The California Ideology
Jedediah Purdy The God of the Digerati
Marc Stiegler, The Gentle Seduction
John Zerzan, Technology
John Zerzan, Why Primitivism?
Kirkpatrick Sale, Lessons from the Luddites

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Week Ten | From Agriculture to Polyculture

Tuesday, November 3

John Zerzan, Agriculture
Malcome Scully, The Destructive Nature of Our Bountiful Harvests
Wes Jackson and Wendell Berry, A 50-Year Farm Bill
Lisa Hamilton, Let's grow a new crop of farmers
Ted Nace, Breadbasket of Democracy
Seeds of Resistance
Dale Allen Pfeiffer, Eating Fossil Fuels

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Thursday, November 5

Permaculture Design Principles, Online Interactive Presentation
Permaculture 101, Short Video Presentations
Introduction to Permaculture: Concepts and Resources, Online Compendium

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Tess Ranahan

Week Eleven | Green Eats

Tuesday, November 10

Jill Richardson, Organic White House Garden Puts Some Conventional Panties in a Twist (Follow the links and read the comments)
Kathy Freston, Vegetarian Is the New Prius
Clara Jeffrey, Michael Pollan Fixes Dinner
Claudia Deutsch, Trying to Connect the Dinner Plate to Climate Change
David Rogers, On PETA's Latest Campaign
Jane Liaw, Food Miles Are Less Important to Environment Than Food Choices

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Sam Tobin;

Thursday, November 12

Jack Kloppenberg, Sharon Lerzberg, Kathryn De Master, Tasting Food, Tasting Sustainability
Cornell University, Factsheet: Consumer Concerns About Pesticides in Food
Paul Roberts, Organic and Local Is So 2008
Jim Hightower, Food Industry Is Now Calling Junk Food Healthy
Brian Howard, Meaningful Labels
Marc Abrahams, Food for Thought
Anna Lenzer, Spin the Bottle
Saul Landau, Reagan and Bottled Water

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Christina S.

Week Twelve | Extracting Ourselves From Extraction

Tuesday, November 17

Michael T. Klare, The Coming Resource Wars
BBC: World Water Crisis
The Coming Water Wars: Demography and Water Resources
The Coming Water Wars: Chart
Kate Kelland, Antibiotics Overuse Threatens Medicine
David Korten on Democracy Now From Phantom Wealth to Real Wealth

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Ashley Russell

Thursday, November 19

Howard Kunstler, The Long Emergency
Howard Kunstler, A Five Part Online Video Exploration: The Long Emergency
Chris Vernon, Agriculture Meets Peak Oil

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Lauren Klein

Week Thirteen | Toxic World

Tuesday, November 24

Al Gore, Introduction to Rachel Carson's Silent Spring
Ten Worst Anthropogenic and Natural Environmental Disasters
What Happened at Bhopal?
Learn More
Pollution Facts
Worst Polluted Places (2007)
Worst Pollution Problems (2008)
12 Cases of Cleanup and Success (2009)

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Thursday, November 26 Thanksgiving Holiday

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report:

Week Fourteen | Green Ethos

Tuesday/Thursday, December 1/3

Many Reports, Many Questions, Discussion of Mores/Ethos-Morals/Ethics, Evaluations; the Distribution of Discussions of the Readings for This Week Will Depend on How/When Other Business Shakes Out. Everyone who has not given a Report must be prepared to do so, everyone who has not written a Precis must do so this week.

Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, The Death of Environmentalism
Bruno Latour, "It's Development, Stupid!" Or: How to Modernize Modernization
George Lakoff, How We Talk About the Environment Has Everything to Do With Whether We Will Save It

Co-facilitation of Class Discussion/Precis:
In-Class Report: Veronica Turner

Aftermath | Reading/Review/Recitation Period -- Finals Week

Thursday, December 10 -- Extended Office Hours Off-Campus

Monday, December 14: Take-Home Final Exam Due


Type the word "nature" into Google, and click the "Definition" button, and will offer you the following:



1. The material world and its phenomena.
2. The forces and processes that produce and control all the phenomena of the material world: the laws of nature.
3. The world of living things and the outdoors: the beauties of nature.
4. A primitive state of existence, untouched and uninfluenced by civilization or artificiality: couldn't tolerate city life anymore and went back to nature.
5. Theology. Humankind's natural state as distinguished from the state of grace.
6. A kind or sort: confidences of a personal nature.
7. The essential characteristics and qualities of a person or thing: “She was only strong and sweet and in her nature when she was really deep in trouble” (Gertrude Stein).
8. The fundamental character or disposition of a person; temperament: “Strange natures made a brotherhood of ill” (Percy Bysshe Shelley).
9. The natural or real aspect of a person, place, or thing. See synonyms at disposition.
10. The processes and functions of the body.

[Middle English, essential properties of a thing, from Old French, from Latin nātūra, from nātus, past participle of nāscī, to be born.]

Our Course Description

Rhetoric 181: Green Rhetoric

Instructor: Dale Carrico

Area of Concentration: Public Discourse

Office Hours: Tuesdays 3-5pm, Dwinelle, and by Appointment

Class Times:
TuTh: 5pm - 6:30pm, 156 Dwinelle

It is curious that all at once we will use the word "natural" to denote the known as against the supernatural, we will use it to describe that which is susceptible to instrumental description as against the unscientific, we will use it to describe the conventional as against the unnatural, we will use it describe wilderness as against artifice, we will use it to describe what is beyond utility in the sublime, and we will use it to mark our imperfect understanding of systems on which we depend nevertheless for our survival.

It is from the problematic and promising vantages of the "natural," so construed, that we will grapple with some Green discourses on offer, in history, and of our own: What are the differences between "environmentalisms" as sites of identification, as subcultures, as movements, as political programs, as research programs, as rhetorical perspectives? How has Green education, agitation, organization, consciousness changed over time? How is Green changing now, and in what ways does Greenness abide?

In this course we will read a number of canonical and representative "environmentalist" discourses and texts, seeking to understand better what it means to read and write the world Greenly. Tracking through these texts each of us will struggle to weave together and testify to our own sense of the Green as an interpretive register, as a writerly skill-set, as a site of imaginative investment, and as a provocation to action. This is a Keyword course, engaging environmentalist discourses historically, theoretically, practically through an exploration of a number of key terms, among them: "Agroforestry," "Alienation," "Appropriate Technology," "Biodiversity," "Biomimicry," "Biopiracy," "Biosphere," "Climate Change," "Climate Refugees," "Commons," "Consensus Science," "Cradle-to-Cradle," "Deep Ecology," "Democracy," "Design," "Ecology," "Ecofeminism," "Ecosocialism," "Enclosure," "Endangered Species," "Energy Descent," "Environmental Justice," "Externality," "Footprint," "Geoengineering," "Greenwashing," "Industrial Ag," "Leapfrogging," "Limit," "Local," "Militarism," "Monoculture," "Native," "Nature," "Natural Capitalism," "Organic," "Permaculture," "Political Ecology," "Polyculture,""Post-Scarcity," "Precautionary Principle," "Recycling/Downcycling,""Renewable," "Resilience," "Social Ecology," "Sustainability," "Technofix," "Toxicity/Abrasion," "Triple Bottom Line," "Viridian," "Wilderness," and so on.

The course will be quite reading intensive. Each student will be delivering an in-class presentation drawn from personal research, as well as co-facilitating discussion of one of our assigned texts. The final exam will provide an occasion to come to terms with the Key Words that will preoccupy our attention throughout our conversation.