New CSSI Faculty Announcement

The CSSI enthusiastically welcomes Joshua Trey Barnett (Ph.D. University of Utah, 2017), who will join Penn State in Fall, 2020 as an Assistant Professor of Communication Arts & Sciences with a half-time appointment in the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences.

For the past decade, Barnett has been studying the rhetorical means by which ecological awareness is formed and transformed. The central question animating his research program is: How is one’s ability to feel and think ecologically rhetorically constructed and cultivated? How, in other words, do we come to sense and to know that earthly co-existence is our conditio sine qua non and, therefore, that for which we are endlessly responsible? Most recently, he published an essay in Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies that explores the role that phenological record-keeping plays in fomenting feelings of concern and care for the more-than-human world.

Presently, he is at work on a book-length manuscript entitled A Time to Grieve: Ecological Mourning in the Anthropocene. In this book, Barnett examines the rhetorical modes through which authors, activists, and artists mourn different ecological losses—the deaths of charismatic animals, for instance, as well as past and potential extinctions, and the devastation of particular ecosystems. Mobilizing a post-Freudian conception of mourning, he explores how rhetorical modes such as naming, recording, and imaging differently enact grief in the face of past, present, and potential ecological losses.