HfE West Cluster Plans Archive of Hope & Cautionary Tales, Among Other Activities

Sally Kitch, Director of the Institute for Humanities Research at Arizona State University in Tempe, recently offered the following update on her part of CHCI’s Mellon-funded Humanities for the Environment collaboration.  Together with her co-Principal Investigator Joni Adamson, she leads the West Cluster activities of the North American Observatory.  (For an overview of the project’s structure and aims, click here.)

In building “Toward a Just and Sustainable Future,” the seventeen members of the West Cluster’s steering committee (representing eight universities) are working steadily on tangible and replicable outcomes of their collaboration on the Anthropocene’s impact on human futures.  After Workshop I, held in November 2013, which focused on Imagining Communities, Technologies, Responsibilities, and Justice in the Anthropocene, working group 1 identified principles of environmentally sustainable and socially just practices through transnational and historical comparisons.   After also defining socially just digital technologies, the group decided to create a digital Archive of Hope and Cautionary Tales about people in diverse eras and geographical locations who have integrated environmental sustainability and social justice in their resolution of environmental challenges.

After Workshop II, held in February 2014 and entitled Imagining Communities in the Anthropocene: Multi-Species Relationships, working group 2 decided to create two interrelated video and “citizen humanist” projects.  Together the projects will explore human responses to living with both charismatic and overlooked species on multiple scales and consider the future of species interdependencies as well as rights and responsibilities.

Workshop III, scheduled for late October 2014, will explore Transdisciplinary Imagination(s) for the Anthropocene by assembling an academic-community working group to explore the Future of Food by creating a hypertext menu for Dinner 2040 in Maricopa County, Arizona.

All three workshops have included public lectures by environmental luminaries, such as David Quammen, Nalini Nadkarni, Jon Moallem, and Vandana Shiva.  Consultants for the workshops have thus far included Felipe Fernández-Armesto,  Giovanna DiChiro, Rebecca Tsosie, Mark Tebeau, Ed Finn,  Hava Tirosh-Samuelson, and Catriona Sandilands.

All three projects will contribute to a special issue of Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities, subtitled “Green Humanities Lab,” in 2015.