Strategies for Teaching Climate Change in the First-Year Writing Classroom; PAMLA (Nov. 12-15, 2020)

deadline for submissions: 
July 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association
contact email: 

The 118th annual conference of the Pacific Ancient & Modern Language Association (PAMLA) will be held from Thursday, November 12, to Sunday, November 15, 2020, at the Sahara Las Vegas Hotel, Las Vegas, Nevada.

Strategies for Teaching Climate Change in the First-Year Writing Classroom:

This session investigates the teaching of climate change themes, focusing on the first-year writing classroom. It will invite instructors whose courses have incorporated these themes to share their pedagogical strategies with those who are new to the use of climate change themes or who would like to improve their existing pedagogy.

Both students and instructors show interest in exploring climate change themes in the writing classroom, but instructors often seem daunted by the topic’s complexity and by the prospects for incorporating its themes into more general writing instruction. On the other hand, students, non-science majors in particular, may be challenged by the venture into unfamiliar territory or turned off by inaccessible texts. The experiences of instructors who have successfully taught these themes in the writing classroom can help others understand what teaching strategies and modes of writing best lend themselves to considerations of climate change, the environment, sustainability, the Anthropocene, environmental equity, and related themes. What kinds of texts are most accessible for first-year writing students, especially those outside the sciences? How do these strategies and texts augment the study of rhetoric and persuasion, considerations of audience, semiotic analysis, and academic research skills? How might these ecological themes intersect with other themes often addressed in the first-year classroom, such as race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, migration, consumerism, ethics, food studies, fashion and identity, religion / theology / religious poetics, eschatology, a focus on local geographical areas, or political conversations around climate change, including climate change denialism? What advice might be given to instructors who are new to teaching these themes in the composition classroom?

Please submit a 300-500 word abstract and a brief bio by July 15, 2020. To submit an abstract for this session, please go to:

Once you have created an account, you will be able to use the online system to submit an abstract. The deadline for proposals is July 15, 2020. If you have any questions, please contact Mary Cummins (