Environmental Humanities Initiative

A principal purpose of the metadiscipline of environmental humanities is to promote the cultural transformations necessary for reducing ecological devastation and anticipating an increasingly uncertain and potentially traumatic future. The Harvard Global Institute Environmental Humanities Initiative (HGI EHI), currently in its seed grant phase, is developing a multifaceted interdisciplinary research program focused on how human communities from earliest times to the present, within and across national borders, grapple with ecological challenges. Under the terms of the initial HGI grant from Harvard President Drew Faust, the HGI EHI is “China-inclusive” but not “China-exclusive.”

HGI EHI hosted a workshop, its inaugural event, on Harvard campus on September 16-17, 2016, bringing together nearly four dozen faculty members from across Harvard schools and several leading scholars from outside Harvard to serve as interlocutors, with the primary objectives of introducing to colleagues the many types of humanistic environmental research currently being conducted at Harvard and discussing together possible collaborative research and publications going forward.    

A workshop in China and several talks on Chinese environmental humanities (co-sponsored by the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies and likely other Harvard entities) are also planned for the seed grant phase of the HGI EHI.

Harvard faculty members interested in participating in the HGI EHI should contact the initiative’s Director, Professor Karen Thornber at thornber@fas.harvard.edu.