I situate my research at the intersection of rhetoric and composition and the rhetoric of science. Currently, my scholarly attention is focused on addressing one of the most important exigencies of our time—climate change. While some may consider climate change a topic best left for the “hard” sciences, I believe it is important to recognize the socio-material nature of this global phenomenon, how, in addition to the physiological effects, “climate change is an idea as well as an empirical reality” (Fiskio, p. 1). As such, I believe that rhetorical analysis is an important tool to bring to bear upon climate change to achieve a more complete understanding of how this phenomenon manifests in both the biosphere (physical world) and the Semiosphere (semantic world) (Dobrin and Weisser, 2002).
My dissertation, “The rhetoric of climate change: Using Latour to compose a nonmodern approach to our modern climate crisis,” uses a Latourian approach to rhetorical analysis to explore the socio-material nature of climate change and to consider how a new method of problem solving may provide insight into the root causes of our current climate crisis. Using Latour’s concepts of socio-material phenomena, the agency of nonhuman actants, and the analytical framework provided by Actor-Network-Theory (ANT), my project works to unveil some of the foundational problems in our current technical, public, and political responses to climate change, stemming from what Latour may call the Modernist divide between the cultural and the natural. It illustrates how a rhetorical understanding of climate change can provide a more complete toolset for grappling with this global, environmental issue, and how the ways we communicate and think about climate change are as important as the “brute facts” (Gross, 1996).
Lundgren, Zachary. (accepted). An Inconvenient Apocalypse. In Imagining the End: The Apocalypse in American Popular Culture. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC/CLIO. 1,500 words.
Book Review: Topic-Driven Environmental Rhetoric, edited by Derek G. Ross, Technical Communication Quarterly, forthcoming.