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The Environmental Humanities in a Changing World

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The Environmental Humanities in a Changing World

Date/Time: Friday and Saturday, March 8-9, 2013, 9:00-5:00 p.m.
Location: Guyot Hall Room 10

Watch Entire Recorded Conference on iTunes
Watch Entire Recorded Conference on YouTube

When environmental studies programs first began appearing in American universities over forty years ago, interest in the subject came almost exclusively from the sciences. Today, however, the situation is very different, as concern for environmental issues has now also swept across the humanities, impacting the study of literature, art, music, history, religion, philosophy, and much, much more. Moreover, poets, novelists, photographers, playwrights, performers, and a variety of additional artists are now producing works reflecting and commenting upon our present environmental situation.

This two-day conference not only brings together leaders from a range of fields in the environmental humanities, but also prominent artists producing work with environmental import. The goal is to both provide succinct overviews of these fields and introduction to this art, as well as to consider how these various approaches can work together for the future of our planet.

This conference capitalizes on previous initiatives and accomplishments and serves as an important foundation for further development of the environmental humanities as an integral component of environmental studies at Princeton with promise for expanding alliances and introducing an array of opportunities for scholarship and teaching.

Download Conference Flyer (PDF)

Conference is FREE and Open to the Public.

Conference sponsored by the Princeton Environmental Institute as a 2013 Taplin Environmental Lecture Series.

Event Co-sponsors


Friday, March 8 (9-5pm)

8:30 Coffee
9:00 Steve Pacala
  T. A. Barron
  Ken Hiltner
9:45 Edward Burtynsky "Vital Liquids: Oil and Water - A Visual Study"
  Short break
11:00 Joni Adamson "A Keyword for Environmental Studies: Imagination"
12:00 Dale Jamieson "Does Environmental Ethics Have a Future?"
1:00 Lunch
2:00 Kimberly Ruffin “Beauty and Burden: A Black Eco-Citizenship Remix”
3:00 Mary Evelyn Tucker & John Grim "Religion, Ecology, and Cosmology: Integrating Stories"
  Short break
4:15 Rob Socolow "The Environmental Humanities: A Perspective from the Environmental Sciences"


Saturday, March 9 (9-5pm)

8:30 Coffee
9:00 Lars Hedin
9:15 Paul Muldoon "Howth Castle and Environs: A View from Ireland."
  Short break
10:30 Karen Thornber, "Ecoambiguity: Asia and the Environmental Humanities"
11:30 Steve Cosson & Michael Friedman, "The Next Forever"
12:30 Lunch
1:30 Princeton Energy and Climate Scholars
1:45 David Schlosberg "The Expanding Sphere of Environmental Justice Discourse"
2:45 Bernie Krause "The Great Animal Orchestra"
  Short break
4:00 Roundtable of Barron Visitors
4:30 Paul Muldoon's band, Wayside Shrines, plays



Joni Adamson

Joni AdamsonJoni Adamson is Associate Professor of English and Environmental Humanities in the School of Letters and Sciences, Senior Sustainability Scholar at the Global Institute of Sustainability, Program Faculty in Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology and an affiliate of Women and Gender Studies at Arizona State University. She served as 2012 President of the Association for the Study Literature and Environment. She is the author of American Indian Literature, Environmental Justice and Ecocriticism: The Middle Place which has been credited with helping shift the field of ecocriticism towards what leading critic Lawrence Buell has termed “ecojustice revisionism.” Adamson is co-editor of American Studies, Ecocriticism, and Citizenship: Thinking and Acting in the Local and Global Commons (Routledge). ;She teaches courses in Environmental Literature and Film, American Literature, Ethnic American Literatures, and Global Indigenous Literatures.

Presentation (PDF) >>

T.A. Barron

T.A. BarronT.A. Barron grew up in Colorado, attended Princeton, and traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar. After a successful business career, he switched to the “more challenging and more joyous” work of writing. He is the winner of the 2011 de Grummond USM Medallion for "lifetime contribution to children's and young adult literature." His more than twenty highly acclaimed, internationally bestselling books celebrate ecological awareness, the spiritual values of nature, and the ability of one person to make a difference. Founder of a national prize for heroic young people, and an early supporter of the Princeton Environmental Institute, Barron loves to write and hike in Colorado.

Edward Burtynsky

Edward BurtynskyEdward Burtynsky is a Canadian photographer and artist who has achieved international recognition for his large-format photographs of industrial landscapes. His work is housed in more than fifty major museums including the Guggenheim Museum, the National Gallery of Canada, and the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris. Burtynsky's most famous photographs are sweeping views of landscapes altered by industry: mine tailings, quarries, and scrap piles. The grand, awe-inspiring beauty of his images is often in tension with the compromised environments they depict. He has made several excursions to China to photograph that country's industrial emergence, and construction of one of the world's largest engineering projects: the Three Gorges Dam. His early influences include Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Eadweard Muybridge, and Carleton Watkins, whose prints he saw at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the early 1980s.

Steve Cosson

Steve CossonSteve Cosson is the founding Artistic Director of the acclaimed investigative theater company, The Civilians. In 2009-2010, Steve was a Currie C. and Thomas A. Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities and Guest Artist at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. During his time, Steve worked with Michael Friedman to lead the production of The Great Immensity, an Award-winning world premiere play that tackles the monumental topic of the environment and the future of the Earth. With The Civilians, Steve has been the writer/co-writer/director of several productions including This Beautiful City; Paris Commune; and the long running hit Gone Missing (New York Times’ Top 10 of 2007 list). Cossen has directed at numerous theaters including Hartford Stage, Soho Rep, and Williamstown. He has been a Fulbright Scholar in Colombia and a MacDowell Fellow. Mr. Cosson is a graduate of Dartmouth College.

Presentation (PDF) >>

Michael Friedman

Michael FriedmanMichael Friedman is a founding associate artist of The Civilians, and composer and lyricist for the company's productions: This Beautiful City, [I Am] Nobody's Lunch,Gone Missing, and Canard, Canard, Goose? In 2009-2010, Michael was a Currie C. and Thomas A. Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities and Guest Artist at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton University. During his time, Michael worked with playwright Steve Cosson to lead the production of The Great Immensity, an Award-winning world premiere play that tackles the monumental topic of the environment and the future of the Earth. He also wrote music and lyrics for Saved, Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson and In the Bubble among others. He has also contributed to film and TV. Friedman is a recipient of a MacDowell fellowship and a Princeton University Hodder Fellowship. Michael Friedman earned his Bachelor's degree at Harvard University where he majored in History and Literature.

Presentation (PDF) >>

John Grim

John GrimJohn Grim is a senior lecturer and research scholar at Yale University. With Mary Evelyn Tucker, he is coordinator of the Forum on Religion and Ecology and series editor of World Religions and Ecology from Harvard Divinity School's Center for the Study of World Religions (Harvard, 2001). Together, Grim and Tucker co-produced the Emmy award-winning documentary, Journey of the Universe. From September 2012 to January 2013, Grim was Visiting Lecturer in Religion and the Princeton Environmental Institute and a 2012 Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities. While at Princeton, he co-taught a course with Mary Evelyn Tucker that explored the intersection of cosmology, ecology, and ethics and contributed to dialogue at the intersection of religion and the environment. Grim's published works include The Shaman: Patterns of Religious Healing Among the Ojibway Indians and co-edited Worldviews and Ecology. Grim is President of the American Teilhard Association.He received his Ph.D. from Fordham University.

Lars Hedin

Lars HedinLars Hedin is Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University. He is also Director of the Program in Environmental Studies and a member of the Grand Challenges faculty. An internationally recognized expert on conservation and ecology, Hedin's research centers on ecosystem analysis, with emphasis on the emergence and maintenance of geographically broad patterns in cycling of nutrients and greenhouse trace gases. He is recipient of a visiting professorship at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and was named by Thompson Reuters as the person with the highest percentage increase in citation in the field of environment and ecology in 2009. Hedin received his Ph.D. in Biogeochemistry and Ecosystems Studies at Yale University.

View Lars' Video (MP4)

Ken Hiltner

Ken HiltnerKen Hiltner (2012-13 Visiting Professor of English and the Princeton Environmental Institute and Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities) is a professor in the English Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he has served as director of the Early Modern Center, director of Graduate Studies, and director of the Literature and the Environment Center. He is the author of five books, including Milton and Ecology” (Cambridge UP, 2003; paperback 2009), What Else is Pastoral? (Cornell UP, 2011), and Essential Ecocriticism (Routledge, Forthcoming), as well as numerous articles. All of the books and most of the articles explore the ideological underpinnings of our current environmental crisis. Hiltner received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, where he garnered a number of distinctions, including the Bowdoin Prize.

Dale Jamieson

Dale JamiesonDale Jamieson is Director of Environmental Studies at New York University, where he is also Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy, and Affiliated Professor of Law. Formerly, he was Henry R. Luce Professor in Human Dimensions of Global Change at Carleton College, and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, where he was the only faculty member to have won both the Dean's Award for research in the social sciences and the Chancellor's Award for research in the humanities. Jamieson has published more than one hundred articles and book chapters. He has held visiting appointments at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Cornell, Princeton, Stanford, Oregon, Arizona State University, Monash and the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. He is also past president of the International Society for Environmental Ethics.

Presentation (PDF) >>

Bernie Krause

Bernie KrauseSince 1968, Bernie Krause has traveled the world recording and archiving the sounds of creatures and environments, both large and small. Working at the research sites of Jane Goodall (Gombe, Tanzania), Biruté Galdikas (Camp Leakey, Borneo), and Diane Fossey (Karisoke, Rwanda), Krause has produced over 50 natural soundscape CDs in addition to designing interactive, non-redundant environmental sound sculptures for museums and other public spaces throughout the world. His contributions helped establish the foundation of a new bioacoustic discipline: soundscape ecology. Krause, holds a Ph.D. in Creative Arts. His new book, The Great Animal Orchestra: Finding the Origins of Music in the World’s Wild Places, was published by Little Brown (Hachette) in March, 2012.

Presentation (MP4) >>

Paul Muldoon

Paul MuldoonPaul Muldoon is the Howard G.B. Clark '21 University Professor in the Humanities at Princeton University. Founding Chair of the Peter B. Lewis Center for the Arts, Muldoon is Professor of Creative Writing in the Lewis Center for the Art, Chair for the Fund for Irish Studies, and Acting Director of Princeton Atelier. In 2007, he was appointed Poetry Editor of The New Yorker. Muldoon's main collections of poetry are New Weather (1973), Mules (1977), Why Brownlee Left (1980), Quoof (1983), Meeting The British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990), The Annals of Chile (1994), Hay (1998), Poems 1968-1998 (2001), Moy Sand and Gravel (2002), Horse Latitudes (2006), and Maggot (2010). He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Stephen W. Pacala

Stephen W. PacalaStephen W. Pacala is the Director of the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Frederick D. Petrie Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Princeton University. His research investigates the processes that govern ecological communities, the interplay between community and ecosystem-level processes, and the interactions between the global biosphere and climate. His work includes Stabilization Wedge, an analysis first published in the journal Science (Pacala and Socolow 2004). Pacala completed an undergraduate degree at Dartmouth College and received his Ph.D. in biology from Stanford University. He has been awarded numerous honors including the David Starr Jordan Prize, the George Mercer Award, the MacArthur Award and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

Kimberly Ruffin

Kimberly RuffinKimberly N. Ruffin is Associate Professor of English and Associate Provost of Graduate Studies at Roosevelt University. Dr. Ruffin is the author of Black on Earth: African-American Ecoliterary Traditions (University of Georgia Press), and co-editor of American Studies, Ecocriticism, and Citizenship: Thinking and Acting in the Local and Global Commons (Routledge). Among her research interests are how human group identities inform ecological citizenship and how the humanities can complement necessary precautionary discourse about environmental crisis with celebratory, inclusive dialogue, art, and action that deepens ecological understanding.

Presentation (PDF) >>

David Schlosberg

David SchlosbergDavid Schlosberg is Professor of Environmental Politics and Director of the Sydney Network on Climate Change and Society at the University of Sydney. His research interests encompass environmental politics, environmental movements, and political theory, in particular the intersection of the three with his work on environmental and climate justice. Schlosberg is co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Climate Change and Society (Oxford 2011). He visited Princeton in 2008-2009 as a Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professor in the Environment and Humanities and Visiting Professor at the University Center for Human Values. While at Princeton, he focused on the scholarship of environmental political theory, climate ethics, and urban sustainability including teaching a course entitled Environmental, Ecological, and Climate Justice.

Presentation (PDF) >>

Robert Socolow

Robert SocolowRobert H. Socolow, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Princeton Environmental Institute at Princeton University, teaches in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His research focuses on technology and policy for fossil fuels under climate constraints. He has a long history of fostering linkages between the environmental sciences, energy technology, and the humanities. In 1971, he organized one of the first public lecture series on this topic at Princeton, “On Wilderness”. Socolow is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He earned a B.A. in 1959 and a Ph.D. in theoretical high energy physics in 1964 from Harvard University.

Presentation (PDF) >>

Karen Thornber

Karen ThornberKaren Thornber is Professor of Comparative Literature and Affiliate Professor, Department of East Asian Languages and Civilizations at Harvard University. Her research and teaching focus on world literature and the literatures and cultures of East Asia. A 1996 graduate of Princeton in Comparative Literature and a 2006 Harvard Ph.D. in East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Thornber is author of Empire of Texts in Motion: Chinese, Korean, and Taiwanese Transculturations of Japanese Literature (Harvard 2009), which received both the 2010 ICLA Anna Balakian Book Prize and the 2011 AAS John Whitney Hall Book Prize, and Ecoambiguity: Environmental Crises and East Asian Literatures (Michigan 2012), as well as an award-winning volume of Japanese poetry translations. Currently, she is working on a book titled Translating World Literature and Global Health, for which she is learning Hindi and Urdu.

Mary Evelyn Tucker

Mary Evelyn Tucker

Mary Evelyn Tucker is a senior lecturer and senior research scholar at Yale University. She is a co-founder and co-director with John Grim of the Forum on Religion and Ecology. Together, Tucker and Grim organized a series of ten conferences on World Religions and Ecology at the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School and also co-produced the Emmy award-winning documentary, Journey of the Universe. They joined Princeton, from September 2012 - January 2013, as Visiting Lecturers in Religion and the Princeton Environmental Institute as Currie C. and Thomas A. Barron Visiting Professors in the Environment and Humanities. While at Princeton, Tucker and Grim co-taught a course that explored the intersection of cosmology, ecology, and ethics. Tucker has authored numerous publications. She received her Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Directions & Parking

PEI DirectionsPrinceton University is located in central New Jersey. An excellent transportation network of bus, rail and highways puts the University within easy reach (an hour or less) of major urban centers, with Philadelphia and Trenton to the south, and Newark and New York to the north. International airports are located in Philadelphia, Newark and New York, and bus and train stations to these cities are adjacent to campus.

Getting to Princeton

Getting Around Campus

Parking: on Friday, March 8th, guests may park in lot 21 only. On Saturday, March 9th you may park in Lot 21 and in the numbered lots on Ivy Lane.