Steven Hartman (NIES) Ecocriticism, Environmental History and the advent of Interdisciplinary Environmental Humanities
Ecocriticism, Environmental History and the advent ofInterdisciplinary Environmental Humanities Steven Hartman The Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Sweden CUNY Human Ecodynamics Center Open Workshop in Sustainability Science and Education 15 October 2012
A network devoted to multi-/interdisciplinary environmentalstudies, with a particular ambition to develop this research fieldwithin the humanities http://www.kth.se/abe/nies
Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (NIES)• Since its founding in 2007 NIES has grown from a group of a dozen researchers based at nine universities in three Nordic countries to its present-day constituency• Well over 100 researchers based at dozens of colleges & universities in five Nordic countries with the following national anchoring institutions: – Sweden • KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm & Uppsala University – Finland • University of Turku – Iceland • University of Iceland – Denmark • University of Southern Denmark—Odense – Norway • University of Oslo• 25 researchers from institutions outside the Nordic region (i.e., in North America, Asia, Australia and Europe)
NIES LeadershipSteven Hartman, Chairperson of NIES and international coordinator, KTH Royal Institute of TechnologyEva Friman, Swedish national coordinator of NIES, Cemus, CSD, Uppsala University.David Nye, Danish national coordinator of NIES, Center for Advanced Studies, University of Southern Denmark, OdenseMaunu Häyrynen, Finnish national coordinator of NIES, School of Cultural Production and Landscape Studies, University of Turku, PoriMark Luccarelli, Norwegian national coordinator of NIES, Department of Area Studies, University of OsloThorvardur Arnason, Icelandic national coordinator of NIES, Hornafjordur Regional Research Centre, University of Iceland
A few facts about NIES• The number of researchers active in the network has grown by 100% during 2011 and 2012; since NIES was originally formed in 2007 membership has grown 10- fold, and to some degree this development may reflect the growth of / increased interest in the environmental humanities as a research area internationally.• The gender balance within the network is approximately 55% men / 45% women.• NIES supports and promotes the production of new knowledge on environmental questions based in or significantly involving subjects and disciplines situated in the humanities. Interdisciplinary frameworks / transdisciplinary linkages are key aspects of the networks approach to research questions and research production.• Numerous projects organized/facilitated by the network are under way or in development• In line with our interdisciplinary principles work on the projects is supported by NIES to the extent possible within the limits of our available external funding.
History of NIES (1)• NIES is broadly interdisciplinary• Formed in 2007, as an initial partnership among Uppsala University, University of Oslo and University of Southern Denmark• Has been externally funded by NordForsk, the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation (Riksbankensjubileumsfond), the Norwegian Research Council, the Sigtuna Foundaton and a number of smaller / regional funding sources• Since the beginning of the NordForsk funding period (Jan 2011), NIES has been primarily anchored at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.• This support has enabled the network to carry out an ambitious program of research events and projects during its relatively short life.
History of NIES (2)NIES has hosted seven international research symposia (and a few full-day workshops) on specific environmental issues / thematic focuses since 2007, most of which are resulting in a peer-reviewed volume of articles published by an international press. NIES has organized symposia, workshops and intensive researcher training courses have included: • Writing and Thinking about Nature and American Culture in a Comparative Perspective, Oslo, Norway, September 30, 2006 • Nature Representation and the Geo-Environmental Development of the USA, Oslo, Norway, 10-11 May 2008 • Counter Natures: Revising Nature in an Era of Environmental Crisis, Uppsala, Sweden, November 21-23, 2009 • Green Oslo and Beyond: Investigating the Origins and Shaping the Outcomes of Green Urbanism, Oslo, Norway, June 7-8, 2010 • The Anti-Landscape, Odense, Denmark, May 8-10, 2011 • The Environmental Humanities: Cultural Perspectives on Nature and the Environment, Sigtuna, October 14-16, 2011 • Advancing Theory and Method in the Environmental Humanities, Sigtuna, Sweden, October 14-19, 2011 • Modernisation of Rural Landscape, Pori, Finland, December 12-13, 2011 • Environmental Policy-making in a Dynamic World, Hornafjordur & Reykjavik, Iceland, May 15-19, 2012 • Environmentalism, Spatiality and the Public Sphere, Oslo, Norway, September 27-29, 2012
History of NIES (2b)• Projects have drawn leading researchers internationally and active Nordic scholars working in environmental studies from each of the disciplinary domains of natural sciences, humanities and social sciences• Each research event has given Nordic researchers working in this field enhanced opportunities to meet, share work with one another and contribute to projects and publications that can give their research enhanced international exposure.• The hosting of these conferences rotates among the Nordic anchoring institutions. --everything in plenum• The conferences/symposia have given us invaluable insights into the state (and diversity/reach) of the environmental humanities in the Nordic countries, and indeed throughout Europe.• The have also served as valuable means of recruiting new researchers to the network and dynamically shaping the disciplinary intersections that are defining this emergent field.
History of NIES (3)• One of the more recent of these conferences, The Environmental Humanities: Cultural Perspectives on Nature and Environment, took place in Sigtuna 14-16 October and was meant to introduce and define the field of the environmental humanities more systematically in the Nordic countries.• Notable outcomes of this conference: – New research subjects/disciplines entered into the mix – New national group added: Iceland – Immediate discussion of new research project made possible by the parties and research problems/agendas brought together for the first time – My presence here today owes to this meeting and the new directions/possibilities it enabled – The momentum, exposure and inspiration of this meeting contributed meaningfully to the eventual establishment of the KTH Environmental Humanities Lab at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (return to this) and the appearance for the first time of the “environmental humanities” on funding policy agendas of major Swedish research councils.
• https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=208588405879202&set=pb.138145089590201.-2207520000.1350293126&type=1&theater• What are the discourses and case studies the Environmental Humanities bring together?
History of NIES (4)• This conference in Sigtuna ran in tandem with a researcher training course / conference titled Advancing Theory and Method in the Environmental Humanities (14-19 October 2011)• Funded primarily by (a separate grant from) NordForsk, the researcher training course / conference was organized for the benefit of PhD students and postdocs who came from all over the Nordic countries and elsewhere in Europe for an intensive week of workshops, lectures and panel discussions.• These conferences were designed to run in parallel (with some elements in common) in order to get synergy out of the two events, which had a common focus but which were also geared at two different levels, namely: – at an advanced level in the case of the research symposium (with a focus on production and dissemination of new research contributions) – at the researcher-training level for the Advancing Theory and Method conference.
KEYNOTE CONTRIBUTIONS NIES V, Sigtuna October 2011• An Holistic Anthropology: Joining together Environmental Humanities with Contemporary Social Science (Carole Crumley, Environmental Anthropology / Historical Ecology)• Ferality Tales: the Cultural Construction and Reconstruction of the Conceptual Boundary of Wild/Domestic Animals (Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism / Green Cultural Studies)• Ecosystem Services: the Making of a Metaphor We Live(?) by (Richard Norgaard, Ecological Economics)• A History of American Energy Regimes and Prospects for Sustainability (David Nye, History of Technology and Environment)• A Masque of Blackness: Aether, CO and “Global” Warming in Millennial Perspective (Kenneth Olwig, Geography)• Thinking about Places: the Humanities and Managing Nature (Libby Robin, Environmental History)• Toward an Integrated History to Guide the Future (on the Urban Mind case studies) (Paul Sinclair, Environmental Archaeology / Integrated History and Historical Ecology)• The Humanities and the Environment: Contradiction, Crisis and the Politics of Prosperity (Kate Soper, Environmental Philosophy)
OTHER CONTRIBUTIONS NIES V, Sigtuna October 2011• The Swedish Political Debate on Climate Change and the Discourse of Industrial Fatalism• Biodiversity as Species Protection: the Swedish Species Information Centre and its histories• Framing of Biodiversity in Swedish Environmental Policy• Framing and Reframing of Biodiversity in International Governance• Global Climate Change – Up Close and Personal (on a photographic case study documenting Icelandic glacier recession)• Sacred Geography: religion in the lived space of climatic change• Climate, Commerce and Bureaucracy: founding colonial rule in northern East Bengal• Frankenstein and the Arctic• Fetishism, Dissociation, and the Cultural Foundations of Capitalism• The Infrastructure of Nature: leisure cabins and the built environment in Norway, 1850-2000• Returning to Nature by Way of Asia: green orientalism in Jack Kerouac and Aldous Huxley• What are Classical Humanistic Scholars Doing in the Forest?: a historical project about forests, forestry and forest science• The Ersatz Animal: a zoöntological reading of Philip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968)• Environmental Ethics and Bioethics as Humanistic Disciplines
Seminars/Workshops (1) NIES Researcher Training Course, Sigtuna October 2011• Rooting around: searching for the foundations of environmental policy (Thorvardur Árnason, University of Iceland)• Economy, Ecology, and Liberal Metaphysics: homeostasis as a foundational trope of modern environmentality (Hannes Bergthaller, National Chung-Hsing University, Taiwan)• Interdisciplinary Research and Field Research – Traps to Fall into and to Avoid: a participative training workshop (Eva Friman and Gloria Gallardo, Uppsala University)• Theorising Pollution (Greg Garrard, Bath-Spa University)• Fishing for Words: interdisciplinary research & multiple audiences (a research case study on the socio-ecological roles of fishing on a major inland river system in Australia, the Murray and Darling river system.) (Heather Goodall, University of Technology, Sydney)• Frame analysis: considering literature in the context of environmental discourse (Axel Goodbody, University of Bath)• Case study: Landscape as Topic for Screensaver or Background Images on PC Screens or Mobile Phones (Maunu Häyrynen, University of Turku)• What Goes in Must Come out: water pollution and urban metabolism (medieval case studies) (Dolly Jørgensen, Umeå University)• Bringing Technology into the Environmental Humanities (Finn Arne Jørgensen, Umeå University)
Seminars/Workshops (2) NIES Researcher Training Course, Sigtuna October 2011• An Archaeology of the Commons: linking the past, the present and the future (Karl-Johan Lindholm, Uppsala University)• Proto-landscape / Landscape / Post-landscape? (theorising the applicability of landscape as a useful concept in environmental studies (Mark Luccarelli, University of Oslo)• Appropriate Technology Then and Now (on the loosely organized grassroots movement of the late 1960s and 1970s, “appropriate technology,” which provided a pragmatic and optimistic counterpoint to deep ecology, wilderness romanticism and declinist technophobia) (Peter Mortensen, Aarhus University)• Science, Society and Nature: a coevolutionary approach (Richard Norgaard, University of California, Berkeley)• From Linnaeus to Climate Change: art and science in the anthropocene (Christopher Oscarson, Brigham Young University)• Non-fiction and Nature writing: reaching audiences beyond the academy (Libby Robin and Sverker Sörlin, KTH Royal Institute of Technology)• The Humanities and the Environment: contradiction, crisis and the politics of prosperity (Kate Soper, London Metropolitan University)• Approaching Environmental Management and Policy Issues from a Humanistic Perspective (Karen V. Lykke Syse, University of Oslo)• Studying Environment as a Social and a Natural Construction (drawing upon a case study of a Vietnamese river system and the communities it supports) (Eren Zink, Uppsala University)
History of NIES (5)• During 2013 and 2014 NIES is organizing 2 more symposia and probably 1-2 more smaller workshops: one symposium in Finland (fall 2013), the other in Sweden (spring 2014).• Each of these conferences is intended to be theme- /problem-organized and each aims to provide opportunity for dissemination of new work.• The 2014 conference in Sweden may address human- animal relations and the Finnish conference topic is not yet set.
History of NIES (6) NIES’s research symposia and book projects have included contributions from researchers in the following academic fields / subjects / disciplines• Ecocriticism / Sociology ethics and and Literature and • Media and aesthetics) Development Environment Communication • Religion & the Studies• Environmental Studies Environment • Ecological History • Environmental Economics• Science & Archaeology • Environmental • Education for Technology Stu • Environmental Law Sustainability dies Anthropology • Landscape • Integrated• Landscape • Urban Studies Architecture History and Studies • Gender Studies • Tourism Historical• Cultural • Human Studies Ecology Anthropology Geography • Regional and• Systems • Philosophy Rural Studies Ecology (particularly • Art History• Environmental environmental • Environment
New NIES InitiativesInitiative 1• Studies in Environmental Humanities – Follow the link below for details: http://www.rodopi.nl/senj.asp?SerieId=SEH
New NIES InitiativesInitiative 2• NIES and NEHN (Nordic Environmental History Network) are currently leading efforts to develop a Nordic consortium masters program in environmental humanities that would involve the following institutional partners: – In Sweden: KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory at KTH Royal Institute of Technology; Umeå Studies in Science, Technology and Environment at Umeå University, the Mind & Nature environmental studies node at Uppsala University – In Iceland: selected partner departments (including Philosophy) at University of Iceland – In Denmark: the University of Aalborg – Department of Cultural Production and Landscape Studies at University of Turku
New NIES InitiativesNIES Initiative 3: Development of a European Cooperation on the Environmental Humanities• In 2011 NIES began an active dialogue with leading humanities-based environmental studies associations based in Europe aimed at developing and working to build capacity in interdisciplinary humanistic environmental studies in Europe: – European Association for the Study of Literature, Culture and Environment (EASLCE) – European Society of Environmental History (ESEH) – Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE-UK) – European Forum on Religion and Environment – Leading European centers of interdisciplinary Environmental research, in particular with pronounced humanities dimensions, including: • KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory • Rachel Carson Center in Munich
New NIES Initiative 4: Environmental Memory Project• A core group within NIES is currently developing an interdisciplinary research project aimed at examining environmental memory in the Icelandic Family sagas.• The project will look at environmental representation in the sagas, with a particular focus (though hardly an exclusive one) on resource scarcity and its relation to social conflict.• The project will bring together a team of historians, literary scholars, geographers, anthropologists & archaeologists (with a focus on integrated history and historical ecology) as well as selected environmental scientists and a medieval law specialist.• We are also working to integrate GIS analysis and public dissemination outcomes into the project, including a web-based interface as one (but clearly not the only) dissemination outcome that could help to make scholarly/research findings accessible to other private and public-sector actors.• Discussions with a number of researchers from these fields have taken place since the fall 2011 and remain ongoing; other disciplines might also be integrated. A preliminary project development and planning meeting took place in Reykjavik on 20 May 2012, with 10 researchers in attendance from most of these fields. Other development workshops are now being scheduled between fall 2012 and summer 2013. My residency here in New York in October is part of this work.
New NIES Initiative 5: Bifrost ProjectBifrost project• Series of thematically-driven documentary installations encompassing many different questions relating to pressing environmental issues, incorporating case studies of current research.• The Bifrost project has grown out of a unique partnership that has developed since early 2011 between working artists, designers and documentary photographers and researchers who bring expert / specialist understandings of culture, nature and the environment to the table; in several instances the participating researchers also have significant artistic background or training themselves.• What motivates each of the members of this project, whether they work primarily in the world of media and the arts or in the academic/research world, is a desire to connect with a wider public beyond the more specialized spheres of research and higher-level environmental policy work.
Bifrost (2)• The pilot documentary in this series, titled “Developing the Environmental Humanities” (40 min) can be accessed and viewed online in a single-channel virtual representation of the three-screen spatial format; see the following link: http://vimeo.com/38246572• Separate documentary installation edits will exhibit at different times and at different locations throughout the Nordic countries, the UK and the USA during 2013 and 2014.• Many of the questions dealt with in the installations relate to one another, so several themes will typically be brought into constructive/provocative interplay in the individual installation edits. The separate edits include different thematic focuses.
Bifrost (3)• The Bifrost project seeks to – make the insights and contributions from environmental studies (scientific, humanistic and social science domains, including policy fields) more accessible to the general public, – encourage greater participation among non-academics in vital discussions arising from scholarship, scientific research and policy work and the enhanced understandings of entangled natural and cultural issues (i.e., environmental issues in the fullest sense) by integrating the arts as a valuable partner in this important work.• The project intends to do this by developing innovative ways of framing public conversations about the environment, and by bringing specialized knowledge and understandings of complex questions into public arenas, especially: – Universities – Museums – possibly other venues in which the public can experience the work, such as culture/art centers, conferences, maybe even airports.
Environmental Humanities Resources• NIES – http://www.kth.se/abe/nies – http://www.nordforsk.org/en/programs/prosjekter/nordic-network-for-interdisciplinary-environmental-studies-nies• THE KTH ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES LABORATORY – http://www.kth.se/en/abe/om-skolan/organisation/inst/philhist/tekhist/ehl/kth-environmental-humanities-laboratory- 1.326400• THE RACHEL CARSON CENTER – http://www.carsoncenter.uni-muenchen.de/index.html• STUDIES IN ENVIROMENTAL HUMANITIES (Series, Rodopi) – http://www.rodopi.nl/senj.asp?SerieId=SEH• ENVIRONMENTAL HUMANITIES (Journal) – http://environmentalhumanities.org/• ESEH – http://eseh.org/• NEHN – http://norden.miljohistorie.net/• WHEN – http://www.arkeologi.uu.se/Seminars/WHEN/?languageId=1• EASLCE – http://www.easlce.eu/• ASLE-UKI – http://asle.org.uk/• HERC – http://herc.gc.cuny.edu• NABO – http://www.nabohome.org/• GHEA – http://gheahome.org/