Stanford University
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Emily Polk

  • PWR Advanced Lecturer, Writing and Rhetoric Studies
Emily Polk is a writer, teacher, scholar, and mother who teaches and writes about community-led responses to climate change, the mobilization of social movements, and climate equity. She developed and taught some of the first courses at Stanford University on Gender and Climate Change, Communicating Climate Change, and Environmental Justice. Prior to getting her doctorate, she worked as a human rights and environment–focused writer and editor for nearly ten years around the world, helping to produce radio documentaries in Burmese refugee camps, and facilitating a human rights-based newspaper in a Liberian refugee camp. She has also worked as an editor at Whole Earth Magazine and at CSRwire, a leading global source of corporate social responsibility news. Her own writing and radio documentaries have appeared in National Geographic Traveler, the Boston Globe, NPR, The National Radio Project, AlterNet, Central America Weekly, the Ghanaian Chronicle, and Creative Nonfiction, among others. Her book, Communicating Global to Local Resiliency: A Case Study of the Transition Movement, was released in 2015. Her recent article, "Communicating Climate Change: What went wrong, how can we do better?" was published in the Handbook of Communication for Development and Social Change and is used in classrooms in the US and around the world.

She is an Advanced Lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric and has a Ph.D. in Communication from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and a Masters in Human Rights from Columbia University. Emily's courses focus on global development, climate change, and environmental justice, and invite students to interrogate the discourses (and assumptions) around the approaches, methods, and ideologies regarding how and when social change happens.
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