1st Edition

Topic-Driven Environmental Rhetoric

Edited By

Derek G. Ross

ISBN 9780367884703
Published December 10, 2019 by Routledge
294 Pages

USD $48.95

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Book Description

Common topics and commonplaces help develop arguments and shape understanding. When used in argumentation, they may help interested parties more effectively communicate valuable information. The purpose of this edited collection on topics of environmental rhetoric is to fill gaps in scholarship related to specific, targeted, topical communication tactics. The chapters in this collection address four overarching areas of common topics in technical communication and environmental rhetoric: framing, place, risk and uncertainty, and sustainability. In addressing these issues, this collection offers insights for students and scholars of rhetoric, as well as for environmental communication practitioners looking for a more nuanced understanding of how topic-driven rhetoric shapes attitudes, beliefs, and decision-making.

Table of Contents


[Carl Herndl]


[Derek G. Ross]

Part I: Framing

1. Proof and Fluid Topics: Topic-Driven Environmental Rhetoric in Modern Society

[Derek G. Ross]

2. Scientist as Hero, Technology as the Enemy: Commonplaces about Science in Environmental Discourses

[Denise Tillery]

3. Granola-Eating, Birkenstock-Wearing, Tree Huggers Who Want to Take Your Guns: Commonplaces of the Environmentalist

[Beth Jorgensen]

Part II: Place

4. Climate Crisis Made Manifest: The Shift From a Topos of Time To a Topos of Place

[Esben Bjerggaard Nielsen]

5. Victims "in" and Protectors "of" Appalachia: Place and the Common Topic of Protection in Missing Mountains: We Went to the Mountaintop, but it Wasn’t There

[Joshua P. Ewalt and James G. Cantrill]

6. Remembering the Alamo: Commonplaces in Texas Water Policy Arguments

[Ken Baake]

Part III: Risk and Uncertainty

7. Reconstituting Causality: Accident Reports as Posthuman Documentation

[Daniel Richards]

8. Toward an Apparent Decolonial Feminist Rhetoric of Risk

[Angela M. Haas and Erin A. Frost]

9. Designing Doubt: The Tactical Use of Uncertainty in Hydraulic Fracturing Debates

[Jacqueline N. Kerr]

Part IV: Sustainability

10. Sustainability and Sustainable Development: The Evolution and Use of Confused Notions

[Cynthia R. Haller]

11. The Three Pillars of Sustainability as a Special Topic of Invention in the Marketing Discourse of Plastic-Packaging Companies

[Edward A. Malone and Shristy Bashyal]

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Derek G. Ross is Associate Professor in the Master of Technical and Professional Communication Program at Auburn University, USA. His work has appeared Technical Communication, Written Communication, and IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, among others. He is the Ethics Editor/Columnist for Intercom Magazine and Co-Director of LUCIA, Auburn’s Laboratory for Usability, Communication, Interaction, and Accessibility.


"Topic-Driven Environmental Rhetoric is a deliberate and superb collection of argument analysis on environmental matters. I found this anthology to be a page-turner, because I appreciated the inclusion of chapters on high profile environmental matters that are difficult to understand through mainstream media alone, and the thorough research, background, and analysis covered by each contributor that helped me understand the complexities of those issues. The unique, topic-driven argument angle clearly demonstrated how such arguments shape global politics on many issues that have definite effects on our lives now and will affect the future. I highly recommend this book for technical communication scholars, graduate students, and practitioners." --Diane Martinez, Western Carolina University