Eng 122CC, Winter 2016

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)

♣♣♣♣♣ My favorite professor here at UCSB. He is excellent at facilitating discussions down to the way in which he physically structures the class in a circle for greater engagement. He is highly enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the material. We were required to attend two EHI events which further deepened our understanding of the issues and made us up to date on what is happening right now.

♣♣♣♣♣ This is a great course. It is very engaging and has a unique focus on the rhetoric of climate change as opposed to science specifically. Good work load, Ken is motivated, engaged, and more than open to any questions, comments, and ideas. He is also just a very good man that everyone should have the pleasure of meeting and learning from.

♣♣♣♣♣ One of, if not the most amazing class I have ever taken. Hiltner’s preparation and extensive knowledge allowed fascinating discussion to flourish. Thanks for a great quarter!

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken is awesome! One of my favorite professors at UCSB. He always makes class so fun and his voice is so soothing to listen to. 10/10 would recommend 😊

♣♣♣♣♣ Thank you for a great, eye-opening quarter. I would suggest setting the class up in a way that requires students to engage in denialist diction on a more understanding platform.

♣♣♣♣♣ Absolutely loved the class. I think that it’s an important start to furthering the climate change discussion. Applying our critical thinking skills to such a relevant, real world problem is an important part of our education that I think many classes often look over. Thank you.

♣♣♣♣♣ Amazing course! Ken (unlike most teachers) makes an effort to remember students’ names and addresses all students’ comments individually which encourages everyone to have a voice and contribute to the discussion. Thank you!

♣♣♣♣♣ I think the instructor was very good at leading discussions, asking insightful questions, and providing important and useful background information. For me, reading climate denialists was sometimes aggravating, having spent years studying climate change. Other denialists, who weren’t as blatant and had greater justification, were actually interesting and bearable. I liked the incorporation of events and class format. I agree assignments incorporating current blogs or news stories would be more engaging in the future.

♣♣♣♣♣ The most interesting class structure for any course I’ve taken. The professor did very well in guiding an actual discussion rather than just lecturing. The course itself was pioneering and one of my favorites at UCSB.

♣♣♣♣♣ I had no idea what this class was going into it, but I came out with the most relevant information I have obtained this far in a UCSB course. I truly felt I learned a lot from this class’s chosen readings and the dynamic of the classroom itself.

♣♣♣♣♣ I thought the course was very interesting and it encouraged me to further engage in environmental issues. The course worked well because it felt more like a community taking the issue seriously. I think showing both stances of the course was important for its dynamic. I enjoyed it overall! Thank you!

♣♣♣♣♣ Enjoyed Kolbert and Klen readings. Include more case studies. Less IPCC/NIPCC stuff—or incorporate articles “in response to IPCC”

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken was a great instructor. I loved the course material and felt that he and Chris taught it well. I came into the course with little knowledge surrounding the subject, and left it feeling very informed.

♣♣♣♣♣ I think it would be a good idea to show videos of climate change debates (preferably including authors that we read) just so we can get a sense of what it looks like to have a back and forth discussion on the topic and see if anything from the way they talk translates to their writing.

♣♣♣♣♣ We talked a bit about Freeman Dyson in this last class. Chris alluded to even making him the “guiding spirit” because of his skeptical nature. But Alex Epstein’s approach, although a complete denialist, is worthy of further discussion because as a philosopher he is concerned with standard of values and that relates to the humanities as well as being quite revealing of dominant ideologies.

♣♣♣♣♣ I enjoyed how Professor Hiltner asked us to make connections between many disciplines and provided a variety of different opinions. In doing so, the students gained a deeper knowledge of the subject.

♣♣♣♣♣ Truly a unique and dynamic class. Professor Hiltner really guided discussion but did so in a way that was not over-bearing and opened up the classroom. Great class. Though I do think that there should be more of a focus on the political side of climate change, since politics and climate change are intrinsically connected.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very interactive and exciting course for me <3. Would highly recommend to others to take!

♣♣♣♣♣ Ken was an amazing professor, I gained a new sense of awareness that really changed my way of thinking. Thank you for that.

♣♣♣♣♣ The encouragement and comfort in the class allowed for unchecked conversation and debate that made the course very interesting.

♣♣♣♣♣ Very unique course. Ken was great at facilitating discussion.

No rating I loved this course when I didn’t think I would. I needed another English course, I didn’t even know what “CC” stood for! But I loved it!