Reading List

List Creator

Emerson Goo

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Visual Cultures of Environmentalism

For my personal reference, but thought I’d make it public anyway. Not all of the works listed address environmentalism specifically, but all have much to offer to the topic. Not meant to be exhaustive.


  • pdf

    Against the Anthropocene: Visual Culture and Environment Today

    Sternberg Press

    - anthropocene visualizations and a universalizing "world perspective"
    - legitimizing geoengineering by governing images of the environment
    - resisting corporate narratives through participatory visibility
    - methods and ethics of photographing environmental destruction
    - alternatives to an anthropocene designation

  • pdf

    Green Film Criticism and Its Futures

    Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

    - overview of directions in "green" film criticism
    - good place to look for relevant texts

  • Online

    Illuminating the Petrochemical Landscape

    Places Journal

    A review of projects that mix photography and environmental activism, including Petrochemical America, by Kate Orff and Richard Misrach.

  • Online

    Hippie Modernism

    Places Journal

    In the late 1960s, Bay Area design activists sought to blend the aspirations of progressive architecture with new environmental imperatives — a goal that’s more relevant than ever.

  • Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images

    University of Chicago Press

    -goes along with his previous work, Natural Visions, which tackles the visual culture of American environmentalism from the Progressive Era to the 1970s

  • Online

    Beyond Fluidity: A Cultural History of Cinema under Water

    - periodization of ocean/underwater films
    - exploration, exploitation, domestication

  • Online

    The Cinematic Aquarium: A History of Undersea Film

    - an excellent thesis that draws upon many sources in ocean humanities
    - see especially chapters 3 and 4 (humpback whale songs, deep-sea IMAX)

  • Online

    Gutter to Gulf

    "Gutter to Gulf aims to develop resilient, comprehensive, synthetic water management strategies for New Orleans and to provide clear, accessible information to diverse audiences. The initiative is designed to extend and support efforts by grassroots organizations. It has been organized to address water management questions across the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture, and urban design. It is intended to ground design proposals at scales of the block, the neighborhood, the district, the city, the region, and the Internet in a clear understanding of the challenges facing southern Louisiana.

    [...]

    Gutter to Gulf uses documentary work and comprehensive research to set an agenda for design. Its research and design projects address the transformation of infrastructure in twenty-first century New Orleans and begin to define a new vocabulary for urban water infrastructure. Our academic labor pool means that ideas without conventional clients can be proposed, studied, tested, and brought to public attention. In return, the city’s circumstances provide vivid dilemmas worthy of careful investigation."

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