Humanities for the Environment (HfE)

From 2013 to 2015, the HfE project, which emerged out of an existing CHCI member network, was animated by questions about the role of the humanities in the Age of the Anthropocene.

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Participants in the HfE project asked how, in this moment, we might re-apprehend longstanding definitional protocols of the humanities, such as the epistemological distinction between 'human' and 'natural' history, together with the multitude of responses the arts and humanities disciplines have given to the fundamental question of what it means to be human within a moment of planetary crisis.

Photograph: Teddy Kelley
Rather than attempt to define a single research agenda adequate to that demand, the HfE project established three research 'observatories' in Australia, Europe, and North America, involving CHCI-member organizations at the University of Sydney (Humanities Research Center), Trinity College Dublin (Trinity Long Room Hub), Arizona State University (Institute for Humanities Research), Clark University (Higgins School of Humanities), and Wake Forest University (Humanities Institute). Each observatory spent the first two years of the project addressing a particular thematic strain with the Anthropocene humanities.  In May 2015, representatives from each observatory convened near Phoenix, Arizona for an international conference.  They were joined by representatives of newly forming observatories in Africa and Asia, with a view toward continuation and growth of the project beyond the current grant period.  In addition, the project website at http://hfe-observatories.org is a major collaborative effort to collect and share the work of the observatories.