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COURSE NAME: "Media and the Environment - HONORS (This course carries 4 semester hours of credits. A minimum CUM GPA of 3.5 is required)"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Spring 2019

INSTRUCTOR: Antonio Lopez
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: MW 1:30-2:45 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: COM 220

As we transition from an industrial model of media distribution to networked communications, corporations and grassroots environmental activists are vying to define environmental opinion in an evolving media landscape. By applying media literacy tools to examine paradigms of communication and ecology we’ll seek to understand how media impact environmental concepts, and explore media strategies for addressing issues such as global climate change. The course covers three core concepts: 1) comparing media and environmental ethics and paradigms, 2) environmental messaging, and 3) the interrelationship between the form of media systems and sustainable business practices.

Using a sustainable media ecosystem framework, students will gain insight into how environmental issues are framed in the media. We examine how the political economy of media influences marketing, news, popular culture and the production of screen technology. Students will explore environmental ideologies and claims making by critically examining advertising, social marketing, documentaries, news and feature films. In addition, the material economy of media gadgets and screen technology will be extensively examined. Finally, this course will demonstrate how alternative approaches to environmental discourses, green cultural citizenship and green technology can lead to a healthy media ecosystem.



Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

· Connect media with their physiological impact on living systems;

· Evaluate media’s interdependence with the global economy, and how the current model of globalization impacts living systems;

· Analyze how media form symbolic associations and discourses that promote environmental ideologies and claims making in the news, popular culture and advertising; and

· Comprehend how media impact our ability to engage in sustainable cultural practices by exploring alternative uses of media that promote sustainability. 

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberComments
The Handbook of Sustainability Literacy: Skills for a Changing World Arran StibbeGreen Books978-1900322607 Please use almost corner books
Communicating Nature: How We Create and Understand Environmental MessagesJulia B. CorbettIsland Press978-1597260688 Please use almost corner books
Green Media and Popular CultureJohn ParhamPalgrave9781137009463 Please use Almost Corner Books

MidtermA take-home analytical essay that will examine key issues from the first half of the semester. 25%
Research paper10-13 page paper and on a theme related to class. Topic approval required. 35%
Final Exam Final exam covers the main themes, readings, and course content from the semester.25%
Ecomedia show and tellChoose an example of environmental media from your research project and make a 10-minute presentation to the class5%
Attendance and participation More than three unexcused absences and excessive tardiness will result in an automatic F for attendance and participation.10%

AWork of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the cour
BThis is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CThis is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DThis level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FThis work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.

More than three unexcused absences will result in the automatic loss of a letter grade. Being late three times counts as an absence. Chronic tardiness will also impact your attendance/participation grade.
As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


Readings and schedule are subject to change.

A note on required readings. Several of the assigned books are very short. Some of the chapters listed below are only five pages long (for example Stibee), so when you see "Stibbe chs. 2, 3, 4, 26," that only accounts for 20 pages. Several of the books that are listed as reserve readings will only be a few chapters per book. The amount of reading per week is on a par with all other CMS classes. 



Pt. 1 Constructing Environmental Paradigms



Week 1: Corbett Intro, chs. 1-2; Lopez ch. 2


Week 2: Stibbe chs. 1, 16; Lopez ch. 4; Castree chs. 1-2




Honors: Castree chs. 4-6



Pt. 2 Advertising and Popular Culture




Week 3: Stibbe chs. 2, 3, 4, 26; Corbett chs. 3-4; Lopez ch 3


Week 4:  Corbett ch. 5-7; 6_sins-greenwashing.pdf



Honors: Bader chs. 10-11




Pt. 3 Constructing Environmental Issues and Claims Making


Required viewing: Food Inc., The Last Mountain, Gasland




Week 5: Anders: 2-4; System’s Dynamics Meets the Press (PDF)


Week 6: Anders 7; Corbett 8-9




Honors: Bader Intro, chs. 12-13




Week 7: Midterm




Pt. 4: The Material Economy




Week 8: Maxwell/Miller Intro, ch. 1;


Week 9: Maxwell/Miller chs. 2-4


Week 10: Maxwell/Miller chs. 5-6, Conclusion




Honors: Maxwell, Raundalen and Vestberg chs. 1-2, 5, 7




Pt. 5 Sustainability, Cultural Change and Healthy Media Ecosystems




Week 11: Lopez 1, 5, 6


Week 12: Stibbe Intro; Corbett: 3, 10


Week 13: Stibbe 5-11 (presentatons)


Week 14: Stibee 20-32 (presentations)