Stories are the secret reservoir of values: change the stories that individuals or nations live by and you change the individuals and nations themselves (Ben Okri).
The University of Gloucestershire
The International Ecolinguistics Association
WELCOME: Welcome to The Stories We Live By, an online course in ecolinguistics funded by the University of Gloucestershire for public benefit.
FREE: Everything in the course is free, including accessing the materials, registering, tuition from International Ecolinguistics Association volunteer tutors, and a certificate of successful completion.
START RIGHT NOW: You can work through the nine parts of the course at your own pace, and register any time to access discussion groups, tuition, and additional materials and apply for the certificate.
TEACHERS: Please feel free to use any of these materials in your own classes. You can adapt them as you like and use them for any purpose.
WHAT'S THE COURSE ABOUT? The social and ecological issues that humanity currently faces are so severe that they call into question the fundamental stories that societies are based on. Ecolinguistics provides tools for revealing the stories we live by, questioning them from an ecological perspective, and contributing to the search for new stories to live by. The course examines a wide range of texts from advertisements, lifestyle magazines and economics textbooks to surfing guides, Native American sayings and Japanese animation. In each case, the question is whether the stories that underlie texts encourage us to care about people and the ecosystems that life depends on.
WHO PRODUCED THE COURSE? Arran Stibbe, Professor of Ecological Linguistics at the University of Gloucestershire, working with a team of volunteers (see below). Arran has an academic background in both linguistics and human ecology and combines the two in his research and teaching. He is the founder of the International Ecolinguistics Association, and is author of Animals Erased: discourse, ecology and reconnection with nature and Ecolinguistics: language, ecology and the stories we live by (Routledge). He was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for teaching excellence, and has published widely on ecolinguistics.
MORE ABOUT THE COURSE: The course is based on the Routledge book Ecolinguistics: language, ecology and the stories we live by. It describes eight ways that language encodes the stories that society is based on: ideologies, framings, metaphors, evaluations, identities, convictions, erasure and salience. Each part of the course covers one of these types of story and includes notes, exercises, videos and (for those who register) discussion groups and additional materials.
THE TEAM: With great thanks to interns Charlotte Dover, Alex James, and Meg Shaw for many contributions; to students who helped with the filming; to Robert Poole for creating an extra section on corpus approaches; to Hass Otsmane-Elhaou and his team from Unit1 Films for creating the videos; to Amir Ghorbanpour, Ayodeji Adedara, Daniela Francesca Virdis, George Jacobs, James Kyle Hager, Jan Osborn, Lucy Atieno, Mira Lieberman-Boyd and Mitch Larney for proof reading and copy editing; and finally to all the volunteer tutors who generously give up their time to allow people across the world to study ecolinguistics.
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New edition of textbook published in 2021