Jan 11th 2016

Environmental Humanities: Remaking Nature (FutureLearn)

Learn how the new Environmental Humanities field is shaping how we understand environmental issues, with this free online course.

In Environmental Humanities: Remaking Nature, you’ll get a broad overview of an emerging area of interdisciplinary research that reframes contemporary environmental challenges using approaches from philosophy, literature, language, history, anthropology, cultural studies and the arts.

You’ll see examples of active research in this field, and discover why humanities research is vital to understanding and confronting contemporary environmental challenges, such as climate change and global biodiversity loss.

“Remake” your ideas about nature

The Environmental Humanities places scientific knowledge in dialogue with the key concerns of the humanities: how people think, feel, protest, vote and create. Our main aim in this course is to consider and create new narratives about how humans and the environment relate to one another.

We’ll begin this course by identifying historical ways of thinking about the environment. Through a range of examples, we’ll illustrate how “nature” is a human invention. We’ll then look at how the role of humans has been conceptualised in opposition to notions of nature, and assert that we were never at the centre, nor in control of the environment.

Having questioned these common “modernist” conceptions about nature, we’ll examine some of the ways in which the natural world is being “remade,” both discursively (in the way we write, speak and think about it) and materially (for instance, in the alteration of DNA and the wholesale transformation of ecosystems).

Finally, we’ll ask you to join us in creating new narratives about nature that demonstrate greater care and concern.

Explore research methods and real-world environmental concerns

Leading experts from the Environmental Humanities programme at UNSW Australia’s Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will introduce you to their research in this innovative and interdisciplinary field.

By the end of this course you will:

- understand why the Environmental Humanities is critical to environmental problem-solving in this age of global environmental crisis;

- have a clear idea of a range of research methods in the Environmental Humanities;

- be aware of opportunities and challenges in this area, and how these relate to global environmental concerns;

- and develop experience in using storytelling to envision new environmental paradigms and ways forward.