The Nature of the Environmental Humanities at the Present Time

Unity College in Maine Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Humanities

Graduate Program, Environmental Humanities, University of Utah

Environmental Studies Doctoral Program, Antioch University

Environmental Humanities Initiative, Bucknell University

At the inauguration of this blog in the long-ago time of September, Keri Cronin and John Lane both raised important questions about what the environmental humanities are. So I decided to see what people were doing when they said they were doing the environmental humanities. After a cursory search on Google (all praise the name of our future overlords), I discovered a strong pattern in the entries above, which topped the list of “environmental humanities.” Whether on the undergraduate, masters, or doctoral level, it seems that these programs all assume that the environmental humanities are: interdisciplinary by nature; concerned with the environmental crisis and solutions to it; interested in a conversation between academia and political and legal institutions and processes; and dedicated to providing students with intellectual skills that can be applied in traditional scholarly pursuits, or in the professions and the world of activism.

I think that’s pretty gnarly. I’m from New Jersey, so I probably have no right to that word, but there it is. Dude!

If anyone knows of other programs in the environmental humanities, please let Planetary know.


3 thoughts on “The Nature of the Environmental Humanities at the Present Time”

  1. Dude! That’s totally cool. Actually, it really is cool. A center for Sustainable Futures is emerging here at CSU Stan. and while I think it leans more toward social sciences, it fits this pattern in lots of ways.

  2. We are right now developing an environmental studies major at Wofford. We are considering requiring four core courses–environmental science, environmental social science, environmental humanities, and an environmental studies seminar. The three “humanities types” on the task force met for lunch yesterday to ask what might be peculiar to such a course, and we decided that one thing a course called “environmental humanities” would have to do is introduce students to how to ask the “why” question. Science and social science might more often ask “how” and “when” and “when,” (and maybe another “w” question or two), but not so often “why.”

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