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Climate-Change Fiction Class To Be Taught At University Of Oregon

Since it’s been fruitless to convince Americans intellectually that a “radical transformation of society” is needed to prevent a speculative next-century climate disaster, as this month’s Atlantic covers, the University of Oregon will use emotional appeals and adrenaline rushes instead: a climate-change fiction class, the San Diego Jewish World reports:

“Cli-fi” (novels and movies about climate change and global warming) is growing in popularity and notoriety as a pop culture genre, and has become an important part of climate change education efforts, particularly at the college level.

Stephen Siperstein, a Ph.D. candidate in UO’s English department, said he previously showed a documentary about disappearing glaciers to undergrads last year, “leaving several of them in tears”:

This coming winter semester, starting in early January, Siperstein will be teaching a new class on cli fi literature for UO undergraduate students –most of them majoring in subjects other than English.

When asked if he felt that cli fi can change minds, even at the national level of politics,  he replied:

“Yes, climate change stories, no matter what form they take–novels, poetry, film–can change minds, but in the best cases, they can also change hearts by working on an emotional level.” …

And when I asked him what writers and movie directors should avoid if they want to reach audiences with cli fi messages, he said: “I don’t think there is anything to avoid, nor would I want to proscribe what kinds of stories authors and artists should tell.”

Here’s a safe bet: Sharknado will be part of the class.

Read the full article here.

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” He co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon at Seattle Pacific University.