What is Environmental Humanities?

Environmental Humanities scholarship responds to the long history of environmental exploitation of colonized peoples, and the economic, ecological, racial, and gendered dimensions of such exploitation. It is interested in understanding current resource wars, food shortages, the rise of epidemics, the importance of multispecies imaginaries, and the place of nation-state politics at a time of climate breakdown. It argues that to better understand and respond to the climate crisis, both scientific and humanities perspectives are equally crucial.  

Environmental Humanities Initiative

The Environmental Humanities Initiative brings together a broad range of research strengths and interests in the English Department and the College of Humanities & Fine Arts. HFA highlights the following courses related to the Environmental Humanities and Social Justice. Courses and programs being offered each semester integrate content from a diverse range of perspectives; they foster critical thinking, research, and writing skills, and provide a wide range of perspectives to analyze what we commonly term as environmental.

Specialization in English

In addition, we offer an undergraduate Specialization in Environmental Humanities for students majoring in English. Students who earn this specialization have a comprehensive understanding of the roles of capital, culture, and politics at a time of rapid climate change. They engage with literature and other arts from across the globe, and also gain a firm understanding of the socio-cultural and environmental dimensions of the climate crisis.

If you are not an English major but would like to pursue this specialization, please reach out to @email.

Sustainability Initiatives

Environmental Humanities faculty are involved in a number of key sustainability initiatives on campus such as the Sustainability Strategy Working Group, Sustainable Ewe Mass, Carbon Zero, and Paperbark magazine. They regularly take part in campus-wide interdisciplinary research collectives such as the Climate Research Group of the Institute for Diversity Sciences and the Anthropocene Lab, and campus-wide transdisciplinary projects and exhibitions such as The Futuring Lab and The Renaissance of the Earth.

Each year, the English Department works closely with the School of Earth and Sustainability to host the much-admired Art Sustainability Activism series of events. 

Thakshala Tissera, PhD Student, Wins 3 Minute Thesis Competition presenting on Environmental Humanities

Tissera presented “Elephant Tales: Stories for Coexistence” during the 3 Minute Thesis Competition final, held March 1, 2024 in the Old Chapel.