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The 2020-2021 Feinberg Series

Planet on a Precipice:

Histories and Futures of the Environmental Emergency

A Free Online Event Series from the UMass Amherst History Department


The 2020-2021 Feinberg Series explores the climate and environmental emergency in historical perspective. Events address the historical origins of ecological destruction and mass extinction; the implications of these phenomena for human and nonhuman survival and ways of life; the role of human politics; the connections between the environmental emergency and histories of capitalism, colonialism, genocide, and white supremacy; human entanglements with the nonhuman world; and the past, present, and future of resistance movements. The series seeks to deepen our understandings of this singularly important set of problems through historical analysis, and in doing so, to envision constructive paths forward.

This series of lectures, panel discussions, workshops, film screenings and more features a wide variety of speakers, including historians, scholars, educators, and filmmakers as well as organizers from the environmental movement.

The 2020-2021 Feinberg Series is offered in partnership with more than 3 dozen community and university partners. Several university courses and a free workshop series for K-12 educators, Teaching on a Precipice: Empowering Student / Teacher Partnerships for Climate Justice, accompany this year’s series.

The series is offered virtually with all events live and recorded on Zoom, Facebook and YouTube. After the events, audio will be available on the History department podcast.  If circumstances permit, spring 2021 events will also be held in person. 

More Information: Series WebsiteCalendar of Events | Press Release | Poster | Facebook | Contact


The Feinberg Series

The Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series is an event series offered every other academic year by the Department of History at UMass Amherst, thanks to the generosity of Kenneth Feinberg '67 and associates. Each iteration of the series focuses on a “big issue” of clear and compelling concern, generally a policy or social issue, aiming to ground it in historical inquiry, context, analysis and experience and featuring a wide variety of events, including lectures, exhibitions, performances, panel discussions and film. Previous themes include: Another World Is Possible: Revolutionary Visions, Past and PresentThe U.S. in the Age of Mass Incarceration, Immigration in the Modern Americas, and more. See links for audio and video of previous events.