Courses in Environmental Humanities

Are you interested in how the sciences, arts, and humanities intersect to address environmental issues?

Environmental Humanities pulls from different movements (environmental philosophy, environmental history, ecocriticsm, cultural geography, anthropology, and others) to study the relationship between humans and non-human nature, past and present.

Dive into some of the untold narratives of physical and social environments through one of the courses designed by the Environmental Humanities Research Group. F

Fall 2019

HUM 395 A: Wilderness in American Culture

Robert Morrissey (History)
MW 3:30-4:50 pm

Explores the wilderness as a concept and a material reality in American culture and history. Examines film, literature, law and policy to understand how the concept of wilderness has figured into how Americans have made sense of their place in nature. A critical examination of both wild lands themselves, and the meanings Americans have attached to them, over time.

HUM 395 B: Politics of Nature

Leah Aronowsky (IPRH Post-Doctoral Fellow)
TTH 9-10:20 am

How is nature socially produced? How is it mobilized politically? This course considers the political life of “nature” in all its varied manifestations—a resource to be exploited, a heritage to be protected, an object to be governed, and a source of life and livelihood, among others. We will consider texts and other forms of media that focus on: the role of the natural world in processes of settler-colonialism, the relationship between science, nature, and empire, the environmental dimensions of the history of international development, strategies of indigenous rights movements, the birth of the environmental NGO, and the environmental legacies of warfare. The course draws on literature from fields that include the history of science, science and technology studies, political ecology, environmental anthropology, and postcolonial studies.

Spring 2020

HIST 202: American Environmental History

Robert Morrissey (History)


American Wastelands

Pollyanna Rhee (IPRH Post-Doctoral Fellow)

This course explores two general themes: how Americans have defined land as waste or unusable and how Americans have wasted space or created wastelands from 1680 – the present day. By investigating wastelands as an idea, a place, and a process we will investigate the creation of the category of “wasteland.” What do we mean when we describe a place as a wasteland? What land-use patterns in America are wasteful or produce waste? And what do these places tell us about American ideas about productivity, usefulness, value, and nature?