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Associate Professor of Environment & Society, UNSW

Tema Milstein's work tends to ways culture, society, and discourse inform – and are informed by – environmental relations. Her focus is on the cultural meaning systems that shape our ecological understandings, identities, and actions, and on ways we create a destructive status quo or regenerative ways of being. Her research interests include ecocultural identity, environmental communication, ecotourism and endangered wildlife, environmental activism, and ecoculture jamming. 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 recipient of a number of research grants. She is dedicated to transformative ecopedagogy, and is co-editor of Environmental Communication Pedagogy and Practice (Routledge, 2017) 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 was 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.


  • –present
    Associate Professor of Environment & Society, UNSW
  • 2007–2018
    Associate professor, University of New Mexico


  • 2007 
    University of Washington, PhD / Environment, Culture, & Communication


  • 2020
    Milstein, T., McGaurr, L. & Lester, L. Make love, not war?: Radical environmental activism’s reconfigurative potential and pitfalls. , Environment and Planning E: Nature and Space
  • 2020
    Milstein, T., & Castro-Sotomayor, J. (Eds.) Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity. London, UK: Routledge.,
  • 2019
    Alhinai, M., & Milstein, T. From kin to commodity: Ecocultural relations in transition in Oman. 24 (12), 1078-1096., Local Environment
  • 2019
    Milstein, T., Thomas, M., & Hoffmann, J. Dams and flows: Immersing in Western meaning systems in search of ecocultural reflexivity. 13 (1), 104-117., Environmental Communication
  • 2018
    Carr, J., & Milstein, T. Keep burning coal or the manatee gets it: Rendering the carbon economy invisible through endangered species protection. 50 (1), 82-100., Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography
  • 2017
    Milstein, T., Pileggi, M., & Morgan, E. (Eds.). Environmental Communication Pedagogy and Practice. London, UK: Routledge.,
  • 2017
    Debelo, A.R., Legesse, A., Milstein, T., & Oda, O. “Tree is life:” The rising of dualism and declining of mutualism among the Gedeo of southern Ethiopia. 2 (7)., Frontiers in Communication: Science and Environmental Communication
  • 2016
    Milstein, T. The performer metaphor: “Mother nature never gives us the same show twice.” 10 (2), 227-248., Environmental Communication
  • 2015
    Milstein, T., & Pulos, A. Culture jam pedagogy and practice: Relocating culture by staying on one’s toes. 8 (3), 395-413., Communication, Culture, & Critique
  • 2012
    Milstein, T. & Dickinson, E. A. Gynocentric greenwashing: The discursive gendering of nature. 5 (4), 510-532., Communication, Culture, & Critique
  • 2012
    Milstein, T., & Kroløkke, C. Transcorporeal Tourism: Whales, fetuses, and the rupturing and reinscribing of cultural constraints. 6 (1), 82-100., Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture
  • 2011
    Milstein, T., Anguiano, C., Sandoval, J., Chen, Y.W., & Dickinson, E. Communicating a “new” environmental vernacular: A sense of relations-in-place. 78 (4), 486-510., Communication Monographs
  • 2011
    Milstein, T. Nature identification: The power of pointing and naming. 5 (1), 3-24., Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture
  • 2009
    Milstein, T. ‘Somethin’ tells me it’s all happening at the zoo:’ Discourse, power, and conservationism. 3 (1), 25-48., Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture
  • 2008
    Milstein, T. When whales “speak for themselves”: Communication as a mediating force in wildlife tourism. 2 (2), 173-192., Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture