Synopses & Reviews
American environmentalism is defined by its icons: the and#147;Crying Indian,and#8221; who shed a tear in response to litter and pollution; the cooling towers of Three Mile Island, site of a notorious nuclear accident; the sorrowful spectacle of oil-soaked wildlife following the ExxonValdez
spill; and, more recently, Al Gore delivering his global warming slide show in An Inconvenient Truth
. These images, and others like them, have helped make environmental consciousness central to American public culture. Yet most historical accounts ignore the crucial role images have played in the making
of popular environmentalism, let alone the ways that they have obscured other environmental truths.
Finis Dunaway closes that gap with Seeing Green. Considering a wide array of imagesand#151;including pictures in popular magazines, television news, advertisements, cartoons, films, and political postersand#151;he shows how popular environmentalism has been entwined with mass media spectacles of crisis. Beginning with radioactive fallout and pesticides during the 1960s and ending with global warming today, he focuses on key moments in which media images provoked environmental anxiety but also prescribed limited forms of action. Moreover, he shows how the media have blamed individual consumers for environmental degradation and thus deflected attention from corporate and government responsibility. Ultimately, Dunaway argues, iconic images have impeded efforts to realizeand#151;or even imagineand#151;sustainable visions of the future.
Generously illustrated, this innovative book will appeal to anyone interested in the history of environmentalism or in the power of the media to shape our politics and public life.
and#8220;Dunaway clearly agrees with contemporary arguments that environmentalism has been defined narrowly and wrongly as only a white middle-class, post-war, suburban-based elite movement. But he goes further to ask why post-war environmentalism has been defined that way and how it was produced culturally and politically as exclusionary to working class and non-white Americans. Itand#8217;s easy to condemn environmentalism as elitist. Itand#8217;s harder and more important to figure out, culturally, how it got that way, and Dunaway is among the first to dig into that at this level of fine-grained scholarship and analysis. . . . This is an important and powerful work of scholarship on modern environmentalism.and#8221;
"Finis Dunawayand#8217;s Seeing Green is not just a brilliant study of the ways images have shaped environmental debate. Itand#8217;s also a provocative analysis of the reasons why the environmental movement hasnand#8217;t made more headway since the first Earth Day in 1970.and#160; Everyone working to address the challenge of climate change should read this book!"
"Dunaway's Seeing Green is a path-breaking cultural history of environmental policy debate. With careful argument and crystalline prose, Dunaway brilliantly shows how the iconic imagery of the environmental movement has shifted the public focus from structural to individual solutions, shielding corporate polluters from the critical scrutiny they deserve. Few historians have connected photography to politics more imaginatively, or with more illuminating results."
and#8220;Compelling and original, Seeing Greenand#160;surveys the relationships among visual images and American environmentalism from the Cold War 1950s to the eco-consciousness of today, looking at a wide variety of images and media sources including ads, photo-essays, movies, cartoons, and comic books, and contextualizing them within larger discussions about affect, public life, environmental citizenship, and the limits of visual democracy. This accessible and informative book is sure to appeal to numerous readers including those in American history, American Studies, geography, media studies, and environmental studies.and#8221;
andldquo;The iconic environmental images Dunaway discusses are essentially advertisements, and adverts address individuals. They assume that radical social change will catch on like any other consumer good. . . . Dunaway, though, argues that you cannot market radical social action.andrdquo;
From Greenpeace protesters confronting whaling ships to Earth First! activists occupying trees to stop logging, radical environmentalists increasingly rely upon attracting mass media coverage to gain visibility and public support. This book examines the use of "image events" as a rhetorical tactic, one that often supplants written or spoken arguments. Widely televised environmentalist actions are analyzed in depth to illustrate how the image event fulfills fundamental rhetorical functions in constructing and transforming identities, discourses, communities, cultures, and world views. Beyond the rhetorical power of image events, DeLuca also shows how they create opportunities for a politics that does not rely on centralized leadership or universal metanarratives. Illuminating the new political possibilities currently being enacted by radical environmental groups, the book lays out a rhetoric of the visual for our mediated age.
Volume describes principles and practices of environmental activists, and the use of images to promote causes. For environmental studies, rhetoric, and political communication scholars and students.
DeLuca (speech communication, U. of Georgia) examines the use of image events as a rhetorical tactic to illustrate how environmental groups' visual discourse acts as their primary means of communication (often supplanting written or spoken arguments); how these image events can create opportunities for a politics that does not rely on centralized leadership; and how they can allow for alternative political meanings to emerge and disseminate even when activists are pictured negatively by the media.
This exceptional volume examines image events as a rhetorical tactic utilized by environmental activists. Author Kevin Michael DeLuca analyzes widely televised environmentalist actions in depth to illustrate how the image event fulfills fundamental rhetorical functions in constructing and transforming identities, discourses, communities, cultures, and world views. Image Politics also exhibits how such events create opportunities for a politics that does not rely on centralized leadership or universal metanarratives. The book presents a rhetoric of the visual for our mediated age as it illuminates new political possibilities currently enacted by radical environmental groups.
Chapters in the volume cover key areas of environmental activism such as:
*The rhetoric of social movements;
*Imaging social movements;
*Environmental justice groups; and
This book is of interest to scholars and students of rhetorical theory, media and communication theory, visual theory, environmental studies, social change movements, and political theory. It will also appeal to others interested in ecology, radical environmental politics, and activism, and is an excellent supplemental text in advanced undergraduate and graduate level courses in these areas.
and#147;Donand#8217;t cry for me, Crying Indian,and#8221; says Finis Dunaway in his brilliant and accessible new book about media depictions of environmental crises and environmental consciousness. Over 15 chapters, Dunaway transforms what we know about icons and events like the famous Crying Indian, Earth Day, the Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, the Exxon Valdez disaster, and Walt Kellyand#8217;s cartoon character Pogo, who met the enemy (who is us). Seeing Green is the first history of ads, films, political posters, and magazine photography in the postwar American environmental movement. From fear of radioactive fallout during the Cold War to anxieties about global warming today, images have helped to produce what Dunaway calls and#147;ecological citizenship.and#8221; They have also been used to tell us that and#147;we are all to blameand#8221; for the environmental state of the worldand#151;as if choosing not to recycle the newspaper and dumping millions of barrels of oil into the sea occupy the same moral realm.and#160; Dunaway heightens our awareness of how depictions of environmental catastrophes are constructed, manipulated, and fought over.
About the Author
Finis Dunaway is associate professor of history at Trent University, where he teaches courses in US history, visual culture, and environmental studies. He is the author of Natural Visions: The Power of Images in American Environmental Reform, also published by the University of Chicago Press.