Course content

The course aims to introduce students to key concerns within the research field of the environmental humanities from an interdisciplinary perspective. It provides an overview of the current state of research and acquaints students with a number of central concepts and positions within the field to encourage a critical and creative approach. With a focus on “the human footprint,” examining global issues such as climate change, pollution of air and water, the rapidly increasing loss of biodiversity, the course seeks to understand anthropogenic climate change.

The course highlights the ways in which the humanities increasingly make use of the concept of the Anthropocene to question and challenge nature-culture dichotomies as well as the presumed exceptionalism of the human. How can we understand the changes in our environment through neologisms such as hyperobject, slow violence, transcorporeal bodies? How can we grasp and alter human roles and relations to the nonhuman in the Anthropocene? The course draws attention to deep time perspectives, hauntologies, solidarity within and across generations, discussing the considerations between time perspectives made in nature- and cultural heritage studies. Posthuman, environmental and new material perspectives are of particular interest in this regard.

Learning outcomes

In order to pass the course, students are expected to be able to:

- actively participate in critical discussions within the field of the environmental humanities
- critically engage in the challenges the humanities face in light of climate change and global environmental concerns
- discuss key concepts and perspectives to offer new insights into the study of the environment
- actively engage with the course in relation to their own research

Practical information

Active participation in seminars and workshops. The completion of all written assignments.

The course is examined orally through seminar participation and through written assignments. Active participation in workshops involves testing methods from the environmental humanities in a scientific environment.

The course encourages independent student work and is led by a an interdisciplinary team of teachers. The teaching is concentrated into two teaching blocks separated by several weeks, facilitating discussions across disciplines and student interaction. It also allows for more writing time and enables nonlocal students to participate.

The teaching consists of seminars and intense workshops with focus on collaborative problem solving. The course includes workshops that actively probe questions such as sustainability and the Anthropocene from the perspective of the more-than-human and deep time. One of the workshops takes the form of a science retreat at a scientific research station.

The seminars deal with discussion of texts as well as critical and creative exploration of key questions and methods within the field of environmental humanities.

NB. The course will be offered online.

Period: Autumn semester 2021

Course dates (prel.): 2021-08-30 – 2021-10-01

Language of instruction: English

Course director: Christina Fredengren, Karin Dirke, Claudia Egerer

Course title in Swedish: Människans fotsteg och miljö

The course is offered by the Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies in collaboration with the Department of Culture and Aesthetics and the English department.

The course is part of the theme Environmental Humanities.