Environment: From A Humanities Perspective
In the last decades, we have witnessed concerted efforts from worldwide organisations such as the UN or from leaders of powerful nations to adopt strategies that aim to preserve our planet and raise environmental awareness among the public. These efforts have been accelerated partly by world environmentalists such as Rachel Carson, Wangari Maathai, Chico Mendes and others and partly by global social movements such as the Chipko Movement in India, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Plastic Pollution Coalition, etc. Such interventions have enthused humanities and social sciences scholars to participate in discussions, controlled earlier by hard sciences and understand how environmental issues have affected human life, society, and culture.
With neoliberal capitalism’s aggressive strategies of accumulation and rising academic concerns about the term ‘Anthropocene’ in the twenty-first century, humanities and social sciences scholars have attempted to engage with environment in an interdisciplinary fashion. For instance, literary critics have borrowed from fields such as marine biology, toxicology or physical sciences while economists and sociologists have drawn upon literary and cultural theories to make sense of our environment in a holistic manner. Through such studies, it has become clear that strategies relating to preserving our environment from destructive practices to building awareness programmes cannot be adopted without engaging the humanities which critically study, the behaviour, imagination, perception, and communication between humans, not to mention the human-non-human exchanges. As a result, in the last two decades at least, there have been increasing academic studies in the humanities about environment, about human and post-human, animality, species preservation, forests, resource extraction, energy crisis, environmental philosophy and ethics, sustainability, and others.
This current issue attempts to understand how humanities have engaged with environmental scholarship. We will explore questions like the following. How do humanistic fields contribute to imagining, perceiving, and understanding the environment? In what way does the field register environment’s impact on society and culture? Do literary and cultural works offer any insight into environmental scholarship? What relevance do geological terms like ‘Anthropocene,’ ‘Meghalaya,’ or ‘Capitalocene’ have for the humanities? How does humanities make sense of aspects such as resource extraction and resistance movements for a humanistic environmental scholarship?
- Focussed areas will include but are not limited to:
- Environment in conversation with humanities
- Anthropocene debates in humanities
- Literature of Climate change
- Environment, Literature, and natural sciences
- Representation of environmental disasters
- Theorising Environment
- Environmental ethics
- Planetary consciousness
- Neoliberalism, resource extraction, and resistance
- Social Movements regarding environment
- Species extinction
- Animal Studies and environmental issues
- Environment, humanism and post-humanism