CMS.S61(ug) / CMS.S97(g) Media and Climate Change

Climate change is one of the most urgent and daunting challenges facing us today. As we will discover in this course, climate change is fundamentally a media problem; media are central to how we come to know climate change, how we act to address it, and how we experience its myriad effects, from fiercer storms to soaring temperatures and sea level rise. We will examine a variety of media forms, including graphic novels, video games, photography, film, and computer models, analyzing these forms both in terms of the representations they offer, and as material objects and infrastructures with environmental impacts of their own. Media technologies shape, and are shaped by, the environment, from e-waste to the carbon emissions of proliferating server farms, from industry funded climate denial campaigns to emerging artistic genres such as “cli-fi” or climate fiction that seek to help us make sense of ongoing global transformation and our place within it. This course won’t be all gloom and doom though; we will also explore the role that media technologies can play in mitigating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and by cultivating networked social movements and activism. As we examine how media shape our understanding of our experience of climate change, we will also think through the extent to which media studies itself must adapt to our new planetary reality.
L. Koslov