The central convictions of the Environmental Humanities are, first, that the natural world always raises questions that are simultaneously scientific and social and, second, that any meaningful effort to address environmental challenges must emerge from both humanistic and scientific considerations. How might the climate crisis necessitate a change in our conception of what it means to be human? What new ethics are required to extend political rights to non-human beings? How must environmental activism address structural racism and the long history of Western imperialism? What can be learned from Indigenous and feminist conceptualizations of the environment and of environmental action? Is capitalism inherently hostile toward the natural world? How have aesthetics shifted in an age of heightened climate change? How has the new figure of the Anthropocene entered the public imagination through film, literature, art, music, and dance? These are just a few of the questions that scholarship in the Environmental Humanities takes up.
To sign up, contact Janet Jakobsen, EHMC Director.
Students who successfully complete this minor or concentration will be able to demonstrate critical understandings of:
- the science of climate change.
- the environment as both naturally and culturally constituted.
- how social difference and social power are negotiated at the intersection of race, ethnicity, gender, and class, with complicated environmental outcomes.
- how diverse forms of environmentalist work—whether analytical, artistic, or activist—are embedded within histories and dynamics of race, ethnicity, gender, and class.
- how environmental harms and remediation attempts are embedded within social, political, and economic power dynamics and hierarchies.
- the contributions of humanistic scholarship and expressive arts to environmental studies and environmental justice more broadly.
The concentration and minor consist of six courses (including a 1-point capstone) to be distributed as follows:
Introductory-level (2 courses):
- WMST BC2150, Practicing Intersectionality: The Interdisciplinary Study of Race, Gender and Ethnicity
- EESC BC1001, Environmental Science I (with lab)
Electives (3 courses):
Three courses in the Humanities or Social Sciences on an environmental theme at the 2000-level or above, selected from a pre-approved list (see below).
Capstone (1 course):
A 1-credit mini-course, convened each spring for EHMC seniors to prepare their capstone presentations.
During spring term of their senior year, EHMC students present their work in the Environmental Humanities at a capstone event, held in collaboration with the existing Senior Seminar Poster Session in the Environmental Science department. These presentations may take one of four forms:
- 15-minute conference-style paper, discussing an environmental question raised by their thesis research or related coursework.
- 15-minute performance, rooted in one of the expressive arts (dance, poetry, theater, film).
- Poster presentation, discussing an environmental question raised by their thesis research or related coursework, mounted alongside those of Environmental Science majors.
- Artistic installation, exploring an environmental theme.