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Department of Environmental Studies and Sciences

John S. Farnsworth

John S. Farnsworth
Senior Lecturer Emeritus

MFA, Antioch University
MLA, Stanford University
PhD, University of Stirling

Teaching and Research Vision

Environmental studies, as an academic pursuit, is ultimately about community.  My own experience has been that the best classes are those animated by a strong community dynamic.  In the classroom I attempt to create a space where my students and I can examine values and practices that enhance the integrity, diversity and beauty of natural systems.

My research is currently evolving.  I've been studying environmental rhetoric for the past decade, but I’ve recently moved into the study of literary natural history.  I've been especially interested in natural histories of Baja California, which happens to be one of my favorite classrooms. I’m also beginning to dabble in historical ecology, and am currently investigating the historical range of the California condor throughout Baja.

On the side, I’m an avid participant in citizen science, both as co-founder of SCU Gone Wild and as part of a Hawkwatch team with the Golden Gate Raptor Observatory.


ENVS 1A & 2A: Analyzing Green Rhetoric (Critical Thinking &Writing I & II)

ENVS 11A & 12A: Nature and Imagination (Cultures & Ideas I and II)

ENVS 79: Environmental Thought

ENVS 142: Writing Natural History


"What Does the Desert Say?:  A Rhetorical Analysis of Desert Solitaire."  Interdisciplinary Literary Studies: A Journal of Criticism and Theory.  Fall 2010: Volume 12 Number 1.

"When University Presidents Become Tree Huggers: A Report from the Field." (Book Chapter)  Climate Neutral Campus Report, Second Edition. Kyoto Publishing/American College and University Presidents? Climate Commitment. 2010

"Writing the Island."  Santa Clara Magazine. Fall, 2010 

Forward to:  A Yankee in Mexican California, 1834-1836. Berkely: Heydey Books, California Legacy Series. 2010

"Sustainability by Design"  (Book review) Green Theory and Praxis: A Journal of Ecopedagogy. Vol. 5, No 1.  Spring, 2010

Curriculum vitae