Michael Moore may have thrust documentary films into the mainstream, but Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth has made science and environmental issues accessible to audiences. A friend of mine from Wuhan, China, said that in spite of all the Chinese piracy of DVDs, she could not get a copy of this video. In the following papers, Peter Hughes traces shifting discourses around human impacts on the natural world from David Attenborough to Al Gore by examining specific moments in the history of natural history documentary. Salma Monani argues that the rhetoric of An Inconvenient Truth is borrowed from Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring and weaves science into art as well as places science within the context of politics and history. Finally, Michele Poff analyzes how Gore has changed the public discourse about global warming and “primed the general public for future attendance to environmental messages.”
1. TITLE: “The End of Life on Earth? Discourses of Risk in Natural History Documentaries” Click Here
Peter Hughes is a Senior Lecturer in Media Studies at La Trobe University, Australia. Where he teaches documentary and new media and is engaged in research into, among other things, theories of risk and documentary discourse. He is a past editor and member of the Editorial Board of the international electronic film & history journal, Screening the Past, and a past member of the editorial boards of MESH and Metro. In addition to articles and chapters about media studies, he is co-author of Media research methods: institutionism, texts, and audiences published in 2005. Currently, he is working on a book on the dispersal and diffusion of the documentary project in the contemporary mediascape.
2. TITLE: “On the Shoulders of Rachel Carson: Echoes of Silent Spring in An Inconvenient Truth”
Salma Monani is Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities in the Department of Environmental Studies at Gettysburg College. She is primarily an ecocritic with research interests in literature and film. She is currently continuing work on her Ph.D. dissertation, Nature Films and the Challenge of Just Sustainability, which is an ecocritical examination of environmental documentaries as they describe concerns for environmental justice and ecological sustainability. In addition, she also works on food justice issues and is currently working on a creative anthology that highlights the local food movement in Adams County, PA.
3. TITLE: “An Inconvenient Truth: Red, Blue and Green”
Michele Poff is a PhD student at the University of Washington. Asserting that the environment in the US is a political issue with a political identity, her work is on Environmental Communication from a perspective of Political Communication.