PhD, University of Washington
MA, University of New Mexico
Tema Milstein is an internationally recognised leader in the field of environmental communication, a transdisciplinary field that understands communication as having far-reaching effects at a time of human-generated environmental crises. She is particularly known for cultural approaches to studying how communication shapes ecological understandings, identities, and actions. Her work tends to discourses that otherwise go unnoticed, to connections between discourses and wider destructive or restorative practices, and to paths toward sustainable, just, and regenerative futures. Her research spans the globe, illustrating tensions between overarching and marginalized environmental meaning systems, examining ecotourism and environmental activism, and establishing the study of ecocultural identities. Her recently published Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (2020) (with co-editor José Castro-Sotomayor) gathers 40 international authors from across disciplines to bring the ecological turn to sociocultural understandings of the self. She is a former Fulbright Scholar and is the 2020 recipient of the Faculty of Arts, Design, and Architecture Dean's Research Award for Society Impact. She earned her PhD from the University of Washington.
As a member of the Environment & Society Group, Milstein currently serves as program convenor of the Master of Environmental Management program, which focuses on nourishing tomorrow's change-makers in regeneratively rethinking and reshaping the world. She is dedicated to transformative ecopedagogy, and is co-editor of Environmental Communication Pedagogy and Practice (Routledge, 2017), founder of the "inside-out classroom," and served as her former institution's University Presidential Teaching Fellow. Milstein has taught at universities in Australia, the United States, Italy, China, and New Zealand. Before coming to UNSW, she served as an associate professor of Geography & Environmental Studies and Environmental Communication at the University of New Mexico. In her previous professional life, she was a newspaper and public radio journalist.