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Environmental Humanities: Research

Research in the environmental humanities involves an active visitors program that brings leading scholars in the environmental humanities to Princeton along with a grants program that supports course development and faculty-led research.

Barron Visiting Professorship

Environmental Humanities: ResearchSince 2003, through the establishment of the Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron '72 Visiting Professorship in the Environment and the Humanities, PEI has forged ties between environmental studies and the humanities and social sciences at Princeton. Working cooperatively with leadership in Princeton's humanities disciplines, PEI identifies and appoints accomplished and emerging scholars whose academic work is at the intersection of a traditional humanities discipline and environmental studies.

Recent visitors have had backgrounds in English, religion, philosophy, political science, and the performing arts. Their scholarship has focused on topics including environmental literature, religion and ecology, environmental justice, climate ethics, climate change, and biodiversity. Barron Visiting Professorship appointments are made jointly in PEI and the academic department that most appropriately represents the appointee's disciplinary background. more >>

Major Initiatives

Several major environmental humanities initiatives have emerged from faculty-led research including multiple-year lecture series, conferences, and theatrical performances.


Art of Environmental JusticeArt of Environmental Justice in an Expanded Field: A Symposium on Creative Activism and Eco-Politics Across Boundaries (Spring 2017)

This one-day event brought together leading international contemporary artists who engage problems of environmental justice in expansive ways. The purpose: to highlight the critical power of visual art to reimagine the politics of ecology across various boundaries—not just national borders but also socioeconomic classes, identities, disciplines, species, and media. Speakers discussed creative projects that demonstrate the far-reaching capacity of visual art to interpret urgent ecological issues and problems of environmental inequality for a broad public. more >>

Global Perspectives on Environmental JusticeGlobal Perspectives on Environmental Justice (Spring 2017)

This event series featured writers, filmmakers, other visual artists, and scholars whose work engages fundamental questions of environmental justice. Our visitors addressed the political, imaginative and ethical challenges that result from unequal exposure to environmental risk and unequal access to environmental resources. Global Perspectives on Environmental Justice have been coordinated by Anne McClintock, A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies, and Rob Nixon, Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Family Professor in Humanities and the Environment. more >>

The Multispecies SalonThe Multispecies Salon: Environmental Humanities Dialogues (Fall 2015 – Spring 2016)

During the 2015 fall semester, Barron Fellow Eben Kirksey organized and lead a series of lunchtime discussions orbiting around two key questions: Which beings flourish, and which fail, when natural and cultural worlds intermingle and collide? In the aftermath of disasters—in blasted landscapes that have been transformed by multiple catastrophes—what are the possibilities of biocultural hope? more >>


After the Spectacular Image: Art, Architecture, and the Media of Climate ChangeAfter the Spectacular Image: Art, Architecture, and the Media of Climate Change (February 11 and 12, 2016)

Barron Fellow Daniel A. Barber developed, organized and staged a two-day conference, "After the Spectacular Image: Art, Architecture and the Media of Climate Change." that brought together a group of prominent scholars from a wide variety of fields to examine the rich history of representing climate and its effects. more >>


CFIThe Climate Futures Initiative Seminar Series (CFI) (Ongoing)

The Climate Futures Initiative (CFI) is an interdisciplinary research program at Princeton University that explores normative and positive approaches to the future of humankind, especially as that future is affected by climate change. The initiative features a wide-ranging dialogue across disciplines and world regions, with considerable attention to ethics. more >>


What Arts & Humanities Are Good For Series (Fall 2014)What Arts & Humanities Are Good For Series (Fall 2014)

Is the climate warming at a terrifying pace? Are toxins leaking into the groundwater? Do our cities have wide, gaping food deserts? The What Arts & Humanities Are Good For series examined how we can deploy the essential insights and methods of the humanities and arts to tackle urgent environmental issues. more >>


Environmental Humanities Podcast Series (2013 - 2014)Environmental Humanities Podcast Series (2013 - 2014)

2012-2013 Barron Fellow, Ken Hiltner, interviews leading scholars in the diverse fields that comprise the environmental humanities. This series, intended for non-specialists, is designed to provide both an introduction and an overview of the environmental humanities. more >>


The Environmental Humanities Conference (March 8 and 9, 2013)The Environmental Humanities Conference (March 8 and 9, 2013)

A two-day conference bringing together leaders from a range of fields in the environmental humanities in order to provide succinct overviews of their fields and to consider how their various approaches can work together for the betterment of the planet. more >>


Oil, Energy, and the Middle EastOil, Energy, and the Middle East
Siebel Energy Challenge Lecture Series (2009-2012)

The Oil, Energy, and the Middle East lecture series aimed to advance understanding of the scientific, technological, political and cultural causes behind the tightening of the global oil supply; the prospects for increasing supplies; the security outlook; alternative energy; and the interplay between all these issues and carbon emission control. more >>


The Great Immensity (Spring 2010)The Great Immensity (Spring 2010)

A year-long collaborative project at the intersection of the environment and the performing arts led to the creation and production of "The Great Immensity," an interpretive theatrical piece that examines the current environmental crisis including themes involving climate change and global sustainability. more >>


Ethics and Climate ChangeEthics and Climate Change (Spring 2009, Fall 2008)
A Siebel Energy Grand Challenge Lecture Series

A ten-part series of lectures by an interdisciplinary group of scholars examining the ethical dimensions of the challenges presented by climate change. more >>


Feeding a Hot and Hungry PlanetFeeding a Hot and Hungry Planet (April 29–May 1, 2009)
A Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 Ethics and the Environment Lecture Series

This one-day symposium, two-day conference explored the scientific, political, and ethical questions presented by the need to greatly boost food production to feed a growing world population while reducing agriculture’s contribution to 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. more >>


A Different Shade of Green: Race, Place and Environmental Justice A Different Shade of Green: Race, Place and Environmental Justice (April 28-29, 2008)
A Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 Ethics and the Environment Lecture Series

This two-day conference focused on the historical and policy dimensions of environmental justice and included over 16 speakers working at the intersection of social justice and environmental stewardship. The conference capped a yearlong collaboration between PEI and the Center for African American Studies. more >>


Food, Ethics, and the EnvironmentFood, Ethics, and the Environment (November 16-17, 2006)
A Bert G. Kerstetter ’66 Ethics and the Environment

The two-day conference brought together industry experts, scientists, local farmers, students and representatives of University dining services to build on existing movements on and off campus to examine food choices. more >>