Environmental Humanities: Interesting research at Stanford and KTH

Crucial to the discussions around sustainability and resilience, lies questions regarding morality, equality and politics, thus about issues that has been dealt with in the humanities. However, rather than seeing the humanities and qualitative social science as being something that merely supports natural science in shaping research agendas and policy recommendations, there seems to be an academic movement that would like the tradition of critical engagement shaped by the humanities - like history, law, philosophy and more qualitative enquiries from the social sciences - to have greater influence on what questions to research, and how to understand policy and politics around what we broadly refer to as the 'environmental' or 'sustainability'. I have heard about two such initiatives that feels inspiring in this regards, one at Stanford and one at KTH-Stockholm.

The Environmental Humanities Project at Stanford, USA


I heard about this project at Stanford on "environmental humanities" from Sverker Sörlin, environmental historian and part of our project on "Ways of Knowing Urban Ecology". Please check out their website at "The Environmental Humanities Project". Some of the titles during their Winter of 2012 has been for instance: "Before the Law: Animals and Biopolitical Thought", "Animal Law: The Newest Social Justice Movement", and "Sustainability, Equity, and Rights: Human-Animal-Nature Interactions & Intersections".

"The Environmental Humanities Project provides a forum for an interdisciplinary approach to environmental issues. It foregrounds recent work of humanities scholars in disciplines such as cultural studies, history, literary studies, philosophy and anthropology that has engaged with environmental problems, and explores how this research contributes to current discussions about ecological crisis."
KTH Environmental Humanities Lab, Sweden


At KTH, Sverker Sörlin and Nina Wormbs are setting up something similar called the "KTH Environmental Humanities Lab". This is in close collaboration with NIES—Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (see also here). NIES writes:
 "The network consists of researchers whose work addresses environmental questions from numerous disciplinary angles; the fields of history, literature, ethnology, linguistics, landscape architecture and cultural studies are represented among the 50+ researchers now affiliated with NIES. Whil the network is strongly anchored in the Nordic countries, institutional affiliation in the Nordic region is not a prerequisite to membership. The network's spheres of interest, broadly speaking, include focuses on enviornmental integrity, stability and sustainability as illumined at the intersection of culture and nature."

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