Environmental Humanities Research Workshop
Image above: Icescapes encountered by Captain John Ross (detail), published in "A Voyage of Discovery" (1819).
The goal of the Environmental Humanities Research Workshop is to foster a community of scholars at Northwestern and in the Chicago area who are interested in what we have broadly termed the environmental humanities. Workshop participants share an interest in questions of nature, science, ethics, aesthetics, environmental policy, and the shifting relationships between the human and the non-human, as well as refining our understanding of what "the environmental humanities" comprises. The Environmental Humanities Research Workshop hosts informal discussions about provocative pieces of scholarship as well as works-in-progress and organizes public talks by established scholars whose work has helped define and expand humanistic approaches to environmental issues.
Issues of sustainability and environmental degradation cannot be considered in isolation from how people imagine and represent them. Environmental concerns are never purely objective problems with only technical fixes. How we address environmental issues depends on how we think about them, read about them, visualize them, and understand them ethically and historically. This is most apparent in the case of climate change, where scientific data is always refracted through political ideologies, cultural perspectives, historical experiences, global governance, and personal values. Our workshop promotes the environmental humanities not simply as an adjunct to scientific or policy-focused approaches, but as an alternative mode of understanding and ultimately transforming the world.
2022-2023 Co-Conveners of the Environmental Humanities Research Workshop
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures, Program in Comparative Literary Studies, and Kaplan Humanities Institute
Associate Professor, Department of History
Director, Program in Environmental Policy and Culture
Screen Cultures PhD Program, Department of Radio/Television/Film
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