The Environmental Humanities Initiative

We are pleased to announce the formation of the Environmental Humanities Initiative (EHI), made possible by the generous support of the College of Liberal Arts.

The name "Environmental Humanities" has emerged as an umbrella term to describe the work of humanistic scholars, artists, and teachers broadly motivated by concerns about the environment. Rather than focusing solely on scientific and technological solutions to problems, the environmental humanities address these complex issues through the multiple lenses of history, philosophy, literature, language, culture, religion, and the visual and performing arts. In addition, the environmental humanities engage a wide range of related fields, including indigenous studies, political ecology, food studies, cultural geography, animal studies, and cultural anthropology, and investigate such keywords as sustainability, the Anthropocene, and posthumanism. Many who identify as part of the environmental humanities also seek to bridge the divide between academic analysis and environmental discourse and practice in the public sphere.

The Environmental Humanities Initiative seeks to catalyze research, foster pedagogical innovation, and enhance public outreach among CLA faculty and graduate students interested in broadly humanistic approaches to environmental issues. In particular, we aim to create a curricular and programmatic presence for the Environmental Humanities that will have high visibility both on and off campus and will be distinguished from allied programs at other universities by its transnational orientation. We are aware of at least twenty CLA faculty currently involved in research, teaching, and outreach related to the Environmental Humanities, and we hope to involve as many faculty as possible in this endeavor. All are welcome!

In the next two years, we will also be seeking to develop an interdisciplinary graduate concentration for study in environmental humanities that addresses the human and cultural dimensions of global environmental change in the 21st century. Finally, we plan to organize an interdisciplinary conference in this area in Fall 2018.

For more information, please contact us at envhum@umn.edu.

Graduate Student Meeting

Date: 
Friday, September 29, 2017 - 10:00am
Description: 

Please join us for an Environmental Humanities Initiative graduate student meeting on Friday, September 29th from 10-11 a.m. in 113 Folwell Hall. We will be sharing some updates on what the EHI has planned this year, including a grad student workshop in October. We will also discussing first steps for the EHI’s blog and social media presence, as well as any other ideas you might have to share (e.g. we talked about starting a reading group or shared bibliography last spring).

Location: 
Folwell Hall 113

The Reality of the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Fukushima Nuclear Incident: Disaster, Refuge, and Isolation

Description: 

Summary and bio forthcoming.

Presenter: 
Mari Tomisawa
Date: 
Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 1:00pm

Lost & Found: Debris and Belongings from the 2011 Japan Tsunami

Description: 

Summary: Forthcoming

Bio: Mr. Hoefer is the founder and Chairman of the Omomuki Foundation, a non-profit organization funding visual and performing arts, and HIV- and AIDS-related health initiatives.  He is on the International Advisory Board of the Portland Japanese Garden, one of the largest Japanese cultural institutes in North America, and also serves as an Advisor to the Japanese non-profit WIT in promoting economic development of the Tohoku region in the aftermath of the 2011 tsunami. He was a founding member of GeoHazards International, a non-profit specializing in reducing risk from natural hazards in developing countries, with an emphasis on earthquakes and tsunamis.

Presenter: 
Geoffrey Hoefer
Date: 
Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 1:00pm

Satoyama: Japan's Vision for Food, Farming, and Ecology

Description: 

Japan's rural landscapes have long been defined by the blurring of lines between nature and agriculture. These "socio-ecological" or "bio-cultural" zones, known as satoyama, have long influenced human diets both in Japan and beyond, ultimately influencing the rise of organic agriculture in the West. These lands have also played a direct role in the evolution and survival of wild plants and animals. Today, the concept of satoyama provides a contemporary model for how humans and nature can successfully co-exist, yet even in Japan this model remains under constant threat.

Eric Lee-Mäder is the Pollinator Conservation and Agricultural Biodiversity Co-Director at the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation (www.xerces.org). In this role Eric works across the world with farmers, food companies, and agencies such as the USDA and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization to enhance biodiversity in agricultural lands. Since 2008, he has supported a team of insect ecologists conducting large-scale wildflower restoration for pollinators across more than 400,000 acres. His work has been featured in major media, cited in a 2016 White House report on pollinator conservation, and he is the author of several books including the best-selling Attracting Native Pollinators, and Farming with Beneficial Insects: Strategies for Ecological Pest Management

Presenter: 
Eric Lee-Mäder
Date: 
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 1:00pm

Animal Figure in Post-Nuclear Cinema

Date: 
Tuesday, November 21, 2017 - 1:00pm
Presenter: 
Hideaki Fujiki