Environmental Humanities Concentration

The Environmental Humanities (EH) concentration emphasizes the important role the humanities, arts, and interpretive social sciences can play not just in producing solutions to environmental problems but in understanding how those problems arose and reframing them to improve environmental outcomes. All humans, including environmental scientists, engage in the arts of imagination, narration, reflection, and persuasion that lie at the core of humanistic fields of study. The environmental humanities explore how the environment is constructed and represented in relation to humans, and how these divergent visions impact both knowledge and action. Courses exploring subjects such as art, culture, ethics, history, and literature can help students appreciate the underlying values and belief systems that drive much of human behavior vis-à-vis the biological and geo-physical systems that we inhabit and transform.

The Environmental Humanities concentration is designed for students who wonder why so many innovative, promising scientific and technical solutions to environmental problems have foundered in particular social, cultural, and political contexts—and are interested in learning how to mobilize humanistic knowledges and skills to ensure more sustainable and livable futures.

Career options available to students who complete the EH course of study include policy, media, corporate sustainability, education, law, and the non-profit sector.

Course requirements

Semester Key: F=Fall, S=Spring, Su=Summer

  • Minimum of 26 credits (7-8 courses) selected from the following list.
  • 18 of these 26 credits must be courses at the 3000 level or higher.
  • Additional courses may be considered including the Society for the Humanities and other one-time course offerings.
  • (*) marks courses common to both the humanities core requirement and the concentration.The same course may not fill both requirements. 
  • [ ] denotes course offered in alternate years. Check Courses of Study for availability.


  • ANTHR 2201 - Early Agriculture (S, 3 cr)

  • ANTHR 2420* - Nature/ Culture: Ethnographic Approaches to Human-Environment Relations (F, 3 cr)

  • ANTHR 2482 -  Anthropology of Climate Change (S, 3 cr)

  • ANTHR 3230 - [Humans and Animals] (S, 4 cr, not offered S22)

  • ANTHR 3422 - [Culture, Politics, and Environment in the Circumpolar North] (S, 4 cr, not offered S22)

  • ANTHR 4101 - Entangled Lives of Humans and Animals (F, 4 cr)

  • ANTHR 4442 - [Toxicity] (S, 4 cr, not offered S22)

Africana studies

  • ASRC 3010 - Sweetness: How Sugar Built the Modern World (F, 4 cr)

Biology & Society

  • BSOC 2061* - Ethics and the Environment (S, 4 cr)


  • CLASS 2010* - [Environment & Sustainability Colloquium](F, 3 cr, not offered F21)

  • CLASS 2729 - [Climate, Archaeology, and History] (S, 3 cr, not offered S22)

  • CLASS 3750 - Introduction to Dendrochronology (F, 4 cr)

Comparative literature

  • COML 2036* - [Literature and the Elements of Nature] (S, 4 cr, not offered S22)

  • COML 3264 - [Poetics, Economies, Ecologies] (F, 3 cr, not offered F21)

  • COML 3336 - Border Environments (S, 4 cr)
  • COML 4902 - Environmental Humanities: Theories and Methods (F, 4 cr)


  • ENGL 3675 - The Environmental Imagination in American Literature (S, 4 cr)

  • ENGL 3795* - [Communicating Climate Change] (S, 4 cr, not offered S22)


  • HIST 2581* - Environmental History (S, 4 cr)

History of art and visual studies

  • ARTH 2255 - [Ecocriticism and Visual Culture] (F, 3 cr, not offered F21)

  • VISST 2012* - Discussions of Environment & Sustainability (F, 3 cr)

Natural resources

  • NTRES 3320* - Introduction to Ethics and the Environment (S, 4 cr)

  • NTRES 3330* - [Ways of Knowing: Indigenous and Place-Based Ecological Knowledge] (F, 4 cr, not offered F21)

Religious studies

  • RELST 2273 - [Religion and Ecological Sustainability] (F, 3 cr, not offered F21)

Science & technology studies

  • STS 3181 - Living in an Uncertain World: Science, Technology, and Risk (S, 4 cr)

  • STS 4131 - Comparative Environmental History (F, 4 cr)

  • STS 4460 - [Lightscapes] (S, 4 cr, not offered S21)


  • PHIL 1440 - [Ethics of Eating] (S, 4 cr, not offered S22)

More information

Students in the EH concentration will:

  1. Gain an in-depth understanding of the social, cultural, personal, political, and psychological dimensions of humans’ relationship with the environment.
  2. Learn the methods by which knowledge in this area of scholarship is acquired, interpreted, and evaluated.
  3. Apply frameworks of understanding from the environmental humanities to complex interdisciplinary environmental issues.