Our Team

Steve Schwarze



Personal Summary

My broad area of interest is rhetoric and public discourse, with a specific focus in environmental rhetoric: the persuasive strategies and appeals used to influence public perception of environmental issues. I am especially interested in how environmental rhetoric engages with broader ideological formations and assumptions. My most recent research is a collaborative project that examines how coal industry campaigns draw upon discourses of neoliberalism to manage economic, regulatory and activist pressures on the industry. These research interests inform my teaching in rhetorical theory, persuasive speaking, environmental rhetoric, and communication & climate change.


Ph.D. The University of Iowa

BA, Drake University



Courses Taught

COMX 242 Argumentation

COMX 240 Intro to Rhetorical Theory

COMX 343 Persuasive Speaking and Criticism

COMM 347 Rhetoric, Nature, and Environmentalism

COMX/CCS 349 Communication, Consumption, and Climate Change

COMM 575 Rhetoric and Environmental Controversy

Teaching Experience

U of Montana, 2000-present

Augustana College (IL), 1997-2000

U of Iowa, 1992-1997


Field of Study

Environmental Rhetoric


Rhetorical Theory

Environmental Humanities

Selected Publications

Under Pressure: Coal Industry Rhetoric and Neoliberalism, Jen Schneider, Steve Schwarze, Peter K. Bsumek, Jennifer Peeples. Palgrave MacMillan, 2016.

Jennifer Peeples, Pete Bsumek, Steve Schwarze, and Jen Schneider, “Industrial Apocalyptic: Neoliberalism, Coal, and the Burlesque Frame.” Rhetoric & Public Affairs 17.2 (2014): 227-254.

Pete Bsumek, Jen Schneider, Steve Schwarze, and Jennifer Peeples, “Corporate Ventriloquism: Corporate Advocacy, the Coal Industry, and the Appropriation of Voice.” Lead chapter in Steve Depoe and Jennifer Peeples (eds.), Voice and Environmental Communication. London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2014.

“Environmental Melodrama: Explorations and Extensions,” part of the forum by Kinsella, et al., “Narratives, Rhetorical Genres, and Environmental Conflict: Responses to Schwarze’s ‘Environmental Melodrama,’” Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 2.1 (2008): 78 - 109

“Environmental Communication as a Field of Crisis,” Environmental Communication 1.1 (2007): 87-98.

“Environmental Melodrama” Quarterly Journal of Speech 92.3 (2006): 239-261.


National Communication Association

International Environmental Communication Association

Western States Communication Association



International Experience

Kyung Hee University Debate Camp (instructor), Seoul, Korea, 2003

Honors / Awards

Three-time recipient of Christine L. Oravec Resesarch Award, from Environmental Communication Division of NCA.

Greening UM Award, from UM Sustainable Campus Committee

Cox Education Excellence Award (teaching award for pre-tenure faculty in College of Arts & Sciences)