Ellen Arnold: "Poetic Riverscapes in the Early Middle Ages"

Wednesday, February 21, 2018 -
4:00pm to 5:00pm

The Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World is bringing Ellen Arnold, an alumna of the UMN History Department and Associate Professor of History at Ohio Wesleyan University, to campus for a lecture and workshop on February 21st. This event is co-sponsored by the Environmental Humanities Initiative.

At 4 pm in Heller Hall 1210, Professor Arnold will present at talk entitled "Poetic Riverscapes in the Early Middle Ages." 


This talk will use the writings of three early medieval poets to argue the environmental imagination of pre-modern works contains the same complexity, nuance, and creativity that marks modern environmentally-inflected works. Though medieval writers are not often credited with imagining the complex interactions of what we would now call ecosystems, their literary riverscapes reflect an awareness of the complex connections within and alongside rivers. Explicating these early medieval texts highlights the complex ways these medieval authors understood rivers and show us the altered ways that we, on the other side of the modern/pre-modern divide, imagine and experience rivers and their denizens.


Prior to Professor Arnold's lecture, the Consortium for the Study of the Premodern World will host an informal graduate student lunch workshop at noon on February 21st in Heller Hall 1210. This is an opportunity for graduate students to meet with Professor Arnold and discuss her experiences teaching and conducting research in environmental history. Students interested in attending the lunch are asked to RSVP via this Google Form by February 15th.


Professor Arnold's current research focuses on the ways medieval people incorporated nature and the environment into both their everyday life and into their cultural imagination. In spring 2012, she was a Fellow at the Rachel Carson Center for Environmental Studies, working on a history of medieval views of rivers and water control. More on Professor Arnold is available here:

Heller Hall 1210

Disrupting and Re-imagining Climate and Environmental Justice: A New Public Project

Friday, February 23, 2018 - 12:00pm

All are invited to attend an informational and brainstorming session on the latest venture of the Humanities Action Lab (HAL).  The University of Minnesota is a founding member of HAL, and this meeting will cover opportunities to involve students and community partners in this major international project over the next several years.  Faculty and students interested in environmental justice, public and digital humanities, and community-engaged pedagogy are especially encouraged to attend!

Launched in October 2017, the Humanities Action Lab's first international initiative centers communities who bear the greatest burden of environmental degradation, yet have sustained campaigns against injustice. These communities include (im)migrant, African American, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. Ultimately, a traveling exhibition and digital platform will reveal deep investigations of resilience, mitigation and adaptation. 

The session will be led by Dr. Aleia Brown, Project Director of the Humanities Action Lab and co-creator of #museumsrespondtoferguson.

Please contact Kevin Murphy at for more information.  

Humanities Action Lab:

Crosby Seminar Room

Foreign Languages and the Environment: Seed Projects for Sustainable Humanities

Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 4:00pm to Friday, March 2, 2018 - 5:00pm

To attend the symposium you must RSVP by filling out this short form!

Space is limited; please RSVP as soon as you know you will be able to attend.

How are programs of language, literatures and cultures revitalizing through connection with environmental humanities initiatives and alliances with sustainability studies? This symposium brings together scholar/teachers whose work in and beyond the classroom has been catalyzed by their commitment to curricular innovation, interdisciplinary projects, and public engagement with climate change issues. The symposium’s purpose is to facilitate dialogue about educational redesign in the humanities as a collaborative intellectual project that crosses fields ranging from language, literature, national/transnational, and cultural studies to second language acquisition and STEM. This shift impacts undergraduate and graduate education, and situates language programs at the forefront of institutional change. Presentations and roundtable discussions will explore theoretical frameworks, innovative curricular models (from design thinking projects to learning abroad), and implementation strategies for the enhanced teaching of languages and cultures in our multilingual world as a means for exploring cultural narratives, values, and perspectives related to the environment.

Keynote Speaker
Katherine Arens (University of Texas-Austin)

Plenary Speakers
Elena Past (Wayne State University)
Maggie Broner (St. Olaf College)

Conference sponsors: Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA); Department of German, Scandinavian & Dutch; Environmental Humanities Initiative

Conference co-sponsors: Institute for Advanced Study; Institute for Global Studies; Institute on the Environment; Center for German and European Studies; CLA Language Center; Department of Asian Languages and Literatures; Department of English; Department of French & Italian; Department of Spanish & Portuguese


combined logos

Minneapolis, MN

Nancy Langston: Lecture on environmental health and environmental policy in the Great Lakes region

Monday, April 30, 2018 -
12:15pm to 3:00pm

Nancy Langston, environmental historian at Michigan Technological University, will give a lecture in the Program in the History of Medicine’s lunchtime lecture series on her current research on environmental health and environmental policy in the Great Lakes region. This event is co-sponsored by the Wangensteen Historical Library and the Environmental Humanities Initiative. The lecture will take place 12:20-1:10 pm and will be followed by a graduate student workshop at 1:30 pm.

Diehl Hall 555