Amy Dickens

Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2018

Degree Type

Capstone Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Studies (BA)


Cultural Studies

First Advisor

Douglas Reichert Powell

Second Advisor

Carmelo Esterrich

Third Advisor

Kenneth Daley


This project uses critical discourse analysis to understand the relationship between U.S. news media coverage on natural disasters like Hurricane Irma and the ideological implications of that coverage. More specifically, in news media discourse, personification of natural disasters alienates humans from their actions, many of which are actively aiding in the advancement of anthropogenic climate change. By taking an in-depth look at how various factors come into play, like the humans vs. nature binary, the polarization of American politics around climate change, and various news media framings, the essay demonstrates that the personification of Irma is both the result of and reinforcement of climate change misrepresentation in news media. 47 pages.