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Environmental Humanities Research Workshop

For Events: See the bottom of this page!

The goal of the Environmental Humanities Research Workshop is to foster a community of scholars at Northwestern and in the Chicago area who are interested in what we have broadly termed the environmental humanities. Workshop participants share an interest in questions of nature, science, ethics, aesthetics, environmental policy, and the shifting relationships between the human and the non-human, as well as refining our understanding of what "the environmental humanities" comprises. The Environmental Humanities Research Workshop hosts informal discussions about provocative pieces of scholarship as well as works-in-progress and organizes public talks by established scholars whose work has helped define and expand humanistic approaches to environmental issues.

Issues of sustainability and environmental degradation cannot be considered in isolation from how people imagine and represent them. Environmental concerns are never purely objective problems with only technical fixes. How we address environmental issues depends on how we think about them, read about them, visualize them, and understand them ethically and historically. This is most apparent in the case of climate change, where scientific data is always refracted through political ideologies, cultural perspectives, historical experiences, global governance, and personal values. Our workshop promotes the environmental humanities not simply as an adjunct to scientific or policy-focused approaches, but as an alternative mode of understanding and ultimately transforming the world.

2018-2019 Co-Conveners of the Environmental Humanities Research Workshop

Corey Byrnes
Assistant Professor of Chinese Culture
Department of Asian Languages and Cultures

Sarah Dimick
Andrew Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in Environmental Humanities
Kaplan Humanities Institute

Keith Woodhouse
Assistant Professor
Department of History

Join the Environmental Humanities listserv

Please email one of the workshop conveners:

Corey Byrnes (,
Keith Woodhouse (,
Sarah Dimick (

 Image above: Icescapes encountered by Captain John Ross (detail), published in "A Voyage of Discovery" (1819).



spring 2019

ashland-belle-helene-plantation-1998-richard-misrach-240px.jpgApril 8, 2019

Sara Černe

Mississippi Palimpsests and Industrial Wastelands

Workshop: 12:00 - 1:30pm; Kresge Hall #2350 (Kaplan Institute)
Details: Click title link above

Sara Černe is a PhD student in English at Northwestern, and a Franke Graduate Fellow of the Kaplan Humanities Institute.


waste-poster-240px.jpgApril 11, 2019

Waste Matters Symposium

Featuring Gabrielle Hecht (Stanford), Benjamin Morgan (UChicago), Zachary Samalin (UChicago), and Amy Zhang (NYU).

Click here for full symposium details.





species-pieces-diademed-sifaka-240px.pngApril 17, 2019

Heather Houser
A New Natural History through Data Visualization

Public talk: 5:00 - 6:30pm; University Hall #201
Details: Click title link above

Brownbag lunch discussion with Professor Houser for graduate students:
12:30 to 1:30pm; Kresge #2350—Bring your own lunch!
Please RSVP to Sarah Dimick at

Heather Houser is Associate Professor of English and co-director of Planet Texas 2050 at The University of Texas at Austin


April 29, 2019

Aimee Bahng
Gentrification of the Sea: Artificial Islands, Climate Change, and Transpacific Speculations

How global racial capitalism continues to extract profit from scenes of environmental degradation

Public talk: 12:30 - 1:50pm; Crowe Hall #1132
Details: Click title link above

Aimee Bahng is Assistant Professor of Gender and Women's Studies, Pomona College



winter 2019

eco-books-poster-240px.jpgJanuary 16, 2019

Corey Byrnes and Keith Woodhouse
Eco Books: A Discussion on Writing and Publishing in the Environmental Humanities

Public Talk: 4:00 - 6:00 pm; Kresge Hall #1515 (Trienens Forum)
Details: Click title link above

Corey Byrnes and Keith Woodhouse, Northwestern University


take-shelter-poster-240px.jpgFebruary 6, 2019
"Take Shelter" Film Screening and Discussion

5:15pm; Kresge Hall #2350 (Kaplan Institute)
Details: Click title link above

Pizza will be served!

RSVP to Adam Syvertsen (

Pre-screening reading (optional): "'There's a Storm Coming!': Reading the Threat of Climate Change in Jeff Nichols's Take Shelter" by Agnes Woolley.


Fall 2018

francois-northwestern-talk-poster-oct-11-2018-168x210.jpgOctober 11, 2018

Anne-Lise François
"In the Cowslips Peeps I Lye:" Romantic Botany and Telling the Time of Day by the Light of the Anthropocene

Public Talk: 5:00 - 6:30pm; University Hall #201 (Hagstrum Room)
Details: Click title link above

Anne-Lise François, Department of English, UC Berkeley

Past Events

Click here for details about past events of the Environmental Humanities Research Workshop

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