Environmental Humanities

The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network is an exciting new initiative in the study of environmental issues. The network presents researchers within the humanities with a forum in which to engage with each other’s work, to share insights, and develop collaborative partnerships.

We believe that the current environmental crisis is best understood as constituted by a range of diverse but mutually-reinforcing political, economic, philosophical, ethical, relational, and spiritual crises. The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network exists to provide a humanities-led focus for responses to these crises.

We believe the humanities are uniquely positioned to complement responses to environmental issues in the hard sciences by addressing the values which underpin environmental decision-making, and therefore to evaluate the consequences of what are essentially problems of human interaction (with both the human and the non-human worlds).

Upcoming event:

Nuclear Nature: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Theorising the Anthropocene after Quantum Physics

A workshop at The Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh

In collaboration with the Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network

29th May 2017

The current “material” turn in the field of ecocriticism has made language and concepts from quantum and nuclear science significant to the theorisation and analysis of Anthropocene “Nature”. Recent studies by influential critics including Timothy Morton, Karen Barad, Jane Bennett, Stacy Alaimo, Isabelle Stengers and Serpil Opperman have all engaged with key ideas from twentieth century physics in their development of a “material” ecocriticism. At the same time, the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy’s “Working Group on the Anthropocene” looks set to date the Anthropocene era from the mid-twentieth century. This new geological era in which the human’s relationship to its environment has changed so radically will thus be shown to be coterminous with the advent of the Nuclear Age.

This workshop brings together academics from across the humanities at the University of Edinburgh and beyond to explore the cross-disciplinary influence of ideas from quantum and nuclear science within the humanities. The event will begin with a Keynote from Professor Peter Middleton, University of Southampton, on “Poetry at the Frontiers of Physics”. Professor Middleton’s most recent book, Physics Envy: American Poetry and Science in the Cold War and After (2015), explores the shifting relationship between the arts and the physical and social sciences from the mid-twentieth century, and establishes physics’ significant influence on the work of Cold War American poets. The workshop will close with a Plenary from one of the University of Edinburgh’s leading quantum physicists, Professor Alex Murphy, who will share with humanities scholars some of the latest developments in quantum physics from the University of Edinburgh’s “Dark Matter” research group.

For enquiries, please contact Dr Sarah Daw: Sarah.Daw@ed.ac.uk

Please register for this event via Eventbrite: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/nuclear-nature-interdisciplinary-approaches-to-theorising-the-anthropocene-after-quantum-physics-tickets-33614562060?aff=ampmlt [external link]


The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network 

It is our belief that the holism which informs critical thinking in the humanities complements the ecological nature of the present problems. The network therefore places a particular emphasis on reflection upon, and innovation across, the disciplinary boundaries within which the humanities tend to operate.

The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network also looks to connect environmental researchers within the humanities with each other, with the wider environmental research agenda within the University, and beyond. The network aspires to be relational in its approach to key themes, issues, and problems.



Organic. We recognise the value of a historically- and theoretically-informed approach to environmental problems. The network will approach environmental issues in a timely and organic fashion, building on existing research to explore new opportunities and insights.

The Edinburgh Environmental Humanities Network presents researchers within the humanities with a forum in which to engage with each other's work, to share insights, and develop collaborative partnerships.

Outward-focussed. The network is open to working with researchers based in other Universities and outwith the Higher Education sector. Current partner organisations include the Australian Environmental Humanities Hub, The Seed Box at Linköping University in Sweden, The Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society at Ludwig Maximilians University of Munich, the Nordic Network for Interdisciplinary Environmental Studies (NIES) at Mid Sweden University, and KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory.