About this Project

The problem of climate change forces us to rethink many of the basic analytical categories in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Within the humanities, writers and artists are experimenting with new ways in which their practices can catalyze environmental awareness, and emerging research is beginning to integrate the history of culture with the history of the earth’s climate.

This project will bring together faculty and graduate students from across the humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences in a reading group. We are especially interested in the place of the humanities in meeting the challenge of climate change. How might humanistic perspectives inform the science and politics of climate change? We will also consider how climate change is transforming our understanding of history, politics, literature, and ethics, inspiring new approaches within the humanities.

“Climate Change: Disciplinary Challenges to the Humanities and Social Sciences” will host an outside scholar each quarter who will curate readings and themes for a workshop in which participants will discuss how humanities and social science research might respond to the present situation of anthropogenic climate change and ecological crisis. In the fall, we will be joined by Professor Joshua Howe, historian from Reed College, and we will delve into a number of topics and debates, including 1) an introduction to climate change and earth system science for the general reader 2) the history of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and climate change policy, and 3) the concept of the Anthropocene and its critics. In the winter and spring quarters, our readings will be selected by the cultural historian Jason Kelly (Purdue-Indianapolis) and the postcolonial scholar Ian Baucom (UVA).  There will also be a special afternoon discussion in early January with Binghamton historical sociologist Jason Moore about the left-wing critique of the Anthropocene and the merits of the alternative term Capitalocene.

Our workshop will culminate with a symposium, on June 3 9:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. in Saieh 201, which will reconvene our outside visitors as well as the the historian of science Deborah Coen (Barnard).

You can view our syllabus through the menu on the left.
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Can the Great Lakes Be Saved?

March 26, 2017

In this essay for the Los Angeles Review of Books, Faculty Fellow Fredrik Albritton Jonsson (Climate Change: Disciplinary Challenges to the Humanities and the Social Sciences) reviews and considers The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan. 

Argonne researchers work to improve how we predict climate change

March 18, 2016

At Argonne National Laboratory, two scientists work on simulations and techniques to project what the climate will look like 100 years from now. 

New Neubauer Collegium projects to explore complex human questions

February 9, 2016

The Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society has selected 12 new collaborative research projects that unite leading scholars from the University of Chicago and beyond to explore novel approaches to complex human questions.

-- UChicago News by Susie Allen


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