Communication, Media & Politics in a Risk Society

Shifting Ideas, Shifting Opinion, Shifting Policy
Public Intellectuals
"Theory of Everything" Debunks Myths About Hawking

“Theory of Everything” Debunks Myths About Hawking

By Declan Fahy, American University Early in The Theory of Everything, the student Stephen Hawking strides across the grounds at Cambridge University in the 1960s, his face dreamy. He is lost in thought about the nature of time. Then he trips and smacks his head on the concrete, cracking his glasses and bruising his face....
Naomi Klein or Al Gore? Making Sense of Contrasting Views on Climate Change

Naomi Klein or Al Gore? Making Sense of Contrasting Views on Climate Change

Credit: United Nations. Reposted from The Conversation. Earth is “fucked” and our insatiable growth economy is to blame. So argues Naomi Klein in her intentionally provocative best-seller This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. the Climate. Klein is the latest among an influential network of like-minded authors who have declared that modern society is at war with nature...
Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals and their Arguments for Action on Climate Change

Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals and their Arguments for Action on Climate Change

In a new open-access paper, I examine the impact of public intellectuals arguing for action in the climate debate, noting key differences across different major discourses and schools of thought (summarized in table above.) Here is the citation and abstract: Nisbet, M.C. (2014). Disruptive Ideas: Public Intellectuals and their Arguments for Action on Climate Change. Wiley...

BC Canada’s The Tyee Magazine on Bill McKibben and Building a Broader Climate Movement

At The Tyee this week, a terrific non-profit online magazine covering news, culture and solutions as they relate to British Columbia and beyond, Geoff Dembicki profiles Bill McKibben and his work as a co-founder and leader of 350.org.  In doing so, Dembicki draws on and addresses several themes that I explored in my Spring 2013...

The Opponent: How Bill McKibben Changed Environmental Politics and Took on the Oil Patch

For the May/June issue of Canada’s Policy Options magazine, I contributed an article adapted from my Spring 2013 Shorenstein Center paper examining the career of environmental writer and activist Bill McKibben.  With anticipation building over Obama’s pending decision on the Keystone XL pipeline, the article at Policy Options is the first in the Canadian press...

Slides for March 28 Lecture at Boston University: Journalists As Public Intellectuals in the Climate Debate

  Thursday, March 28, 2013 Visions of a Sustainable Future: Journalists as Public Intellectuals in the Climate Change Debate In this month’s COM Research Colloquium, Dr. Nisbet (Associate Professor of Communication and Co-Director of the Center for Social Media, American University, Washington, D.C.) examines the role of prominent journalists as public intellectuals in society today....

Harvard Shorenstein Center Paper on Bill McKibben as Journalist, Public Intellectual and Activist

In a paper released today by Harvard University, I analyze the career of writer-turned-activist Bill McKibben and his impact over the past 20 years on the  climate change debate.  Below is a description of the paper from the corresponding web page at the Kennedy School of Government’s Shorenstein Center on Press, Politics and Public Policy....

Earth’s Library: Estimating Book Publishing Trends Related to Climate Change

For a study I am working on this semester while on sabbatical at Harvard University, I wanted to try to estimate book publishing trends over time related to climate change, renewable energy, biodiversity, sustainable development, and population growth. After consulting with several librarians, my best option was to estimate these publishing trends by way of...

The Good and the Bad of Nate Silver’s Cultural Celebrity

Over at the Breakthrough, my latest Public Square column takes a look at the good and the bad of Nate Silver’s cultural celebrity and oracle status.  Here’s how the column starts out: If you are a Democrat, you were likely feeling good on Election Day about President Obama’s chances.  Many pollsters and forecasters predicted an Obama...