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PWR 91EPA: Environmental Justice Storytelling - Writing for Impact

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In this class students will explore groundbreaking environmental justice stories created in multiple mediums including podcasts, documentaries, op-eds, and social media. Over the quarter you will research and develop your own environmental justice story and select a genre to communicate it as you work through key questions to take outside of the class and into your career: What is the role of the writer in addressing our greatest environmental and social challenges? What impact can stories have in shifting power and changing policies? How do we transform mainstream narratives? How do we engage the most impacted voices in the making of our stories? How do we figure out the audience to reach and how best to reach them? Finally, where are the places we find hope in this work?

Major Assignments:

Collaborative Genre Workshop [10 percent of grade] You will partner with one or two other students to design an engaging learning activity to facilitate our investigation of the different possibilities for telling an environmental justice story. Examples of genre workshops include: podcasts, documentaries, op-eds, social media, diverse artforms, and solarpunk fiction. You and your group will help us to understand the rhetorical situations that shape and reflect your chosen genre by considering the forms, techniques, possibilities, and challenges afforded by the genre.

Key Voices in Your Story [30 percent of grade] After you have come up with your own EJ topic to pursue, you will produce a (relatively short) literature review — a written overview that introduces your topic and explores the most important voices involved with it. These voices should be diverse and might include scholars who have conducted in-depth research on the issue, activists on the frontlines, community leaders, policymakers and/or any other stakeholder with a direct investment in the issue.  

Public Audience Text (PAT) [50 percent of grade] You will translate your “Key Voices” review into the medium/genre you want to work with, either written or non-written (podcast, video, op-ed, storymap, research blog, etc.). You’ll make your choice in part based on the audience you want to reach, the purpose of your project and the impact you’d like it to have.

Supporting Activities [10 percent of grade] You will complete secondary activities to develop the tools and ideas necessary to complete the major assignments and to engage with your chosen creative medium progressively throughout the quarter. These activities are graded on a complete / incomplete basis and include, but are not limited to: reflections, pre-writing exercises, and in class workshops that will help you to develop the skills you need for translating your review to your chosen genre.

Prerequisite: WR-1 requirement or the permission of instructor

Grade option: Letter (ABCD/NP)

Course Feature: Science Communication Track. This course does not fulfill the WR-1 or WR-2 Requirement