Eng 122CC, Summer 2018

The Rhetoric of Climate Change

In this course, we will be critically reading a variety of contemporary texts that deal with the issue of climate change. In the process, we will be honing our skills as critical, active readers. One of the keys to effective reading, regardless of whether the text at hand is a Victorian novel or content on a website, is that the process be active. When reading for pleasure, it is perfectly fine to enter into an imaginative world and just enjoy your time there. However, in reading critically—which is, or at least should be, an essential skill taught in university literature departments—it is necessary to carefully consider what an author and text are doing. Authors have enormous power, as they can, one word at a time, influence each step of a reader’s experience of a text. In this sense, an author is like a guide walking you through what may be unknown territory. They not only decide what you see (and don’t) and when you see it, they are also in a position to influence how you see it though their careful representations. The more skillful the author, the more power they have over the representation and hence also over the reader. (Note that for our purposes a “text” can be a written work, a photograph or painting, a film or video, a musical composition, or a range of additional creations and that any of these can be “read” in our sense of being actively studied.)

Please note: The UCSB Current published an article on this course entitled “Case Closed? Depends on Who You Ask.”


“Please rate the overall quality of the Instructor’s teaching using the following scales”

Average rating: 4.8 of 5 (♣♣♣♣♣ Excellent; ♣♣♣♣ Very Good; ♣♣♣ Good; ♣♣ Fair; ♣ Poor)

♣♣♣♣♣ Great class discussions. Ken helped foster a positive and productive classroom discussion where I felt encouraged to share my opinions safely and openly and comfortably. All students’ opinions were valued. Ken is super knowledgeable and the nicest guy ever. You’re the man Ken.

♣♣♣♣♣ Readings are VERY good, they are very well suited for the argument. I would say that the course is perfect. Only suggestion to make it better would be to maybe include a reading that is very recent. However, all readings are contemporary. Professor Hiltner’s way of teaching is very effective in encouraging class discussion.

♣♣♣♣♣ I appreciated the structure of this course as well as how engaging the instructor was with the class during lecture. It is obvious that the instructor was very knowledgeable about the material and made it easy to understand.

♣♣♣♣♣ Most interesting English class I have ever had. Analyzing both sides of climate change positions was extremely educational and engaging.

♣♣♣♣♣ Great instructor, use of current political issues, guides great discussion, and allows students to foster productive ideas and stances past the course guidelines!

♣♣♣♣♣ Loved this class and learned so much valuable, compelling information. I specifically liked the structure of the course and how accommodating Prof. Hiltner was. Thank you!!!

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner really engages the class and encourages everyone to participate. I really enjoyed all of his chosen readings, and because of this class, I have a better understanding of climate change.

♣♣♣♣♣ Amazing positivity for feedback. Creates an inviting atmosphere to share discussion in. Extremely knowledgeable and more than happy to elaborate details.

♣♣♣♣♣ Thanks for making discussion have a nice flow to it and for being a good public speaker.

♣♣♣♣♣ Professor Hiltner did a great job of involving the students in discussion. I felt like he really cared about what students had to say.

♣♣♣♣♣ Interesting, intelligent professor! Enjoyed the class, picked intriguing readings. Thank you!

♣♣♣♣♣ Very engaging class, great guidance for discussions!

♣♣♣♣ Hiltner does an excellent job introducing climate change literature to students. By providing two sides of the climate change argument. The only reason I did not rate his teaching as excellent because sometimes the lecture can be monotonous/dull, but other than that, it’s an AMAZING course!!

♣♣♣ You should be a bit more honest with students when they say things that are false. Not every  point is a great one. Being critical in the classroom is important to learning effectively in my opinion (not saying to be mean—just more honest and less lenient).