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Environmental Humanities

The major in Environmental Humanities invites students to ask how we can live ethical, just lives on a precarious planet. Our courses explore the position of humanity in what we now call “the environment,” amid the urgency of the accelerating climate crisis. Grounded in the Humanities—areas of study that ask questions about how people understand and express themselves—Environmental Humanities also wrestle with such questions as “what is the environment?”, “how did we get into this crisis?”, “how might we address the links between environment, race, and colonialism?” or “what kind of thing is a human being?”. Further, we ask questions about both human and other-than-human life: “who survives, who gets to live well, how do we live together?” (Siperstein, et al). In the urgency of this moment, we will explore many ways of knowing, generate new concepts, and redesign interventions into the crises of our environment. We will imagine new pathways forward that might impel change, in the forms of scholarly research and creative production. Cultural representations of the environment range from the concept of physis in the Classical world up to the toxic post-industrial landscape of the twenty-first century. Such representations have been complicit in the consumption and degradation of global landscapes, and have called for intervention or proffered compelling counter-narratives and space for speculation. The EH program enables students to engage with cultural forms of the past and present, and to become thinkers, writers, and artists who work to shape a more just, sustainable, and accommodating future for all of Earth’s occupants.

List of Faculty:

  • Emily Jones, Director
  • Kate Shea
  • Kwabena Edusei
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