One of the most dynamic and quickly growing fields in the humanities across the globe, the environmental humanities is the study of ecological issues with humanities methodologies of interpretation, critique, historiography, and creative inquiry.
The environmental humanities rethink both the traditional humanities, which have been slow to recognize the importance of ecological issues, as well as the social and natural sciences. The latter benefit from insights gained by bringing questions of cultural frameworks, language, and imagination to bear on human-environment relationships and the communication of scientific ideas.
The University of Rochester's Environmental Humanities Program emphasizes the complex historical and cultural legacies of the environmental state of the world. In addition, we explore the role of imagination in understanding alternative, marginalized environmental perspectives.
Environmental humanities courses are available from disciplines and subjects across Arts, Sciences and Engineering at Rochester, including:
- African and African-American studies
- Art history and studio art
- Digital media studies
- Earth and environmental sciences
- Film and media studies
- Gender, sexuality, and women's studies
As part of their coursework, our students study and discuss a range of questions and issues, such as:
- What is nature?
- How do structures of inequality and injustice relate to ecological problems?
- What is as an environmental fact? How are facts experienced?
- How does history inform our understanding of the environment?
- How can we theorize modernity and modernization from an environmental perspective?
- How can writers, artists, and philosophers help us think through the roles of race, class, sexuality, and social justice in environmental issues?
- What are the cultural and political implications of the potential renaming of our geological epoch as the Anthropocene?
- How have the sciences defined how ecological crises, such as climate change, are perceived?
- How do we understand the failure of climate science to convince the general public to demand political change?