Mind the gaps! Climate scientists should heed lessons in collaborative storytelling from William Shakespeare

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2022
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Wiley Periodicals LLC
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Shenk, Linda
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Gutowski, William
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Geological and Atmospheric Sciences

The Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences offers majors in three areas: Geology (traditional, environmental, or hydrogeology, for work as a surveyor or in mineral exploration), Meteorology (studies in global atmosphere, weather technology, and modeling for work as a meteorologist), and Earth Sciences (interdisciplinary mixture of geology, meteorology, and other natural sciences, with option of teacher-licensure).

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The Department of Geology and Mining was founded in 1898. In 1902 its name changed to the Department of Geology. In 1965 its name changed to the Department of Earth Science. In 1977 its name changed to the Department of Earth Sciences. In 1989 its name changed to the Department of Geological and Atmospheric Sciences.

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1898-present

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  • Department of Geology and Mining (1898-1902)
  • Department of Geology (1902-1965)
  • Department of Earth Science (1965-1977)
  • Department of Earth Sciences (1977-1989)

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English

The Department of English seeks to provide all university students with the skills of effective communication and critical thinking, as well as imparting knowledge of literature, creative writing, linguistics, speech and technical communication to students within and outside of the department.

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The Department of English and Speech was formed in 1939 from the merger of the Department of English and the Department of Public Speaking. In 1971 its name changed to the Department of English.

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1939-present

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  • Department of English and Speech (1939-1971)

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To co-produce locally relevant climate knowledge, climate scientists are engaging in new collaborations—with stakeholders and with scholars in the humanities, arts, and social sciences. In our work as a Shakespeare scholar-turned-public-humanist and a climate scientist, we have created a methodology that allows researchers and communities to co-produce knowledge by co-producing narratives. We combine principles from emerging climate “storylines” research with collaborative storytelling inspired by William Shakespeare's plays and theatrical practices. Shakespeare's plays spark collaborations and interpretations, in part, because of how Shakespeare leaves gaps in the narrative. These gaps allow others to enter as collaborators, creating a “cognitive ecology” that fosters knowledge and action among all engaged. Integrating these methods into climate storyline-making offers a radical paradigm: it upends the scientist's role as the focal storyteller and expert, and fosters, instead, partnership, equity, and a co-exploration of multiple uncertainties. It is time for researchers to cede control to a cognitive ecology of collaborative action.
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This article is published as Shenk, Linda, and William J. Gutowski Jr. "Mind the gaps! Climate scientists should heed lessons in collaborative storytelling from William Shakespeare." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change (2022): e783. DOI: 10.1002/wcc.783. Copyright 2022 The Authors. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Posted with permission.
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