Jason Ludden: Humanities approaches to contemporary environmental resource management
Humanities approaches to contemporary environmental resource management
Jason Ludden is a teaching assistant professor in the English department at the University of Nevada, Reno. He earned his B.S. in forestry and English from the University of Wisconsin, his MFA in creative writing from Oregon State University, and his Ph.D. in rhetoric and composition from the University of Nevada, Reno. His research focuses on environmental communication, exploring ways that experts and the public discuss natural resource management and how language structures ecosystems. Additionally, he is interested in ways to decolonize transnational communication, specifically in relation to “expert” status in policy debates. He has published his work in Works and Days, The Review of Communication, and Rhetoric & Public Affairs.
The research opportunity for students will focus on exploring environmental and natural resource issues using field methods from rhetorical critics and STS (science, technology, and society) scholarship. While Ludden’s research in the past has looked at forest management plans, riparian buffer zone policies, and community discourse around human-animal-conflict, the specific case study will be tailored to meet the interests and discipline of the student. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of research opportunity, students from liberal arts and environmental majors are encouraged to apply. Students from the humanities will have the opportunity to operationalize their course materials and use them to engage and address contemporary environmental issues, such as the Tahoe National Forest fire management plan or the history of land in our region. For those students interested in law, they can develop a project to examine the design and outcomes of specific policies in relation to language and action, like the sage grouse management policy or the effect of building codes of river health and forest canopy in the Truckee meadows. Additionally, STEM students who seek to work with communities in their profession can examine community engagement on management issues, such as sage grouse habitat protection or forest timber sales. The research project will be tailored to meet both the student’s field of study and their professional ambitions. The student chosen to collaborate on this project will do a literature review to develop their own research methodology, learn how to collect data and create an archive, code primary resource materials including possible interviews, and help write a manuscript for submission while also presenting at discipline specific conferences.