Environmental Arts and Humanities

Course Description: 

This course explores key issues in contemporary environmental arts and humanities, drawing on literature from philosophy, anthropology, feminist science studies and new materialisms, and the visual arts. It highlights novel approaches for representing, analysing, and critiquing human interactions with their environment across cultures.

Students will examine a broad range of approaches and consider how this work challenges and reframes environmental understanding. A special focus is on examining the impact and critique of the Anthropocene on how we experience and represent the natural world, in shaping debates around the collective response to ecological crisis, and on the evolving role of the arts and humanities in visualising and reimagining environmental issues.

Topics covered include reconfigurations of the animal and vegetal, art activism and post-internet art, queer and feminist ecologies, multi-species ethnography, and indigenous environmental politics. Along with lectures and seminar discussions, this course will involve encounters with multiple art forms and approaches from a range of humanities disciplines, and provide students with opportunities to develop critical skills and broaden their response to ecological issues.

Learning Outcomes: 
  • Knowledge of key issues within current debates about the Anthropocene
  • A critical grasp of the influence of developments in contemporary arts and humanities on environmental discourse
  • Understanding of how awareness of ecological crisis is impacting contemporary arts and culture
  • Ability to apply interdisciplinary approaches from the arts and humanities to the critical analysis of an environmental issue
  • Working collaboratively to conceive and execute a research project
Assessment: 

Class participation (20%)

Team mid-term project (30%)

Written assignment (50%)*

* PhD students in Environmental Sciences and Policy will have additional assessment requirements as agreed with instructors.