Oil Literacy The Canadian Oil/Tar Sands Debate, Media Literacy and Politics

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-03-30
  • Publisher: Pearson Learning Solutions

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While there are many environmental problems that affect all of us, teaching about them can be challenging: they are very complex, they cross boundaries between the natural and social sciences, and they are so affected by the way they are portrayed in the media.


Fortunately, help is at hand in Oil Literacy: The Canadian Oil/Tar Sands Debate, Media Literacy, and Politics, which addresses the Canadian oil/tar sands debate in an interdisciplinary fashion. It examines this specific environmental problem through a political economy lens, analyzing it primarily as a social problem and bringing to that analysis a full toolset of social science concepts. It thus encourages the student to look at the problem from many viewpoints, emphasizing the role of critical literacy in a world in which the truth about an issue can sometimes seem elusive.


Before this textbook, professors who wanted to teach across disciplines as diverse as environmental science and public communication would be forced to rely on their own collections of primary sources. Oil Literacy gathers together resources from diverse sources and presents them in a clear, easily understood manner. Students will come away from this textbook not only with a deeper understanding of the Canadian oil/tar sands debate, but also with the critical tools to apply to the many other environmental problems we all face.

Author Biography

Conny Davidsen teaches in the department of geography at the University of Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Leith Deacon teaches in the department of earth science at the University of Alberta, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Laura Kiff teaches at the University of Freiburg, Germany.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Oil Literacy—Framing Environmental Problems

Chapter 2: Extraction Processes

Chapter 3: Local Environmental and Social Impacts

Chapter 4: “Oil” or “Tar” Sands? Language and Discourse

Chapter 5: Politics of Oil

Chapter 6: Energy Dependence and Risks

Chapter 7: Energy Strategies

Chapter 8: The Cost of Energy

Chapter 9: Wicked Problems—Literacy and the Reframing of the Problem


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