The Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship is bringing together scholars to generate discussion and research into using the broad field of the humanities and its related disciplines to understand and engage with global environmental problems.
The annual meeting of Humanities for the Environment (HfE) will be hosted for the first time in Africa at the University of Pretoria (UP) and will bring together participants from South America, North America, Europe, East Asia, Australia-Pacific, Asia-Pacific and Africa.
The conference aims to look at how humanities research and scholarship can help to shape attitudes towards environmentalism. Papers will explore whether the humanities (in all its integrated and varied fields) can produce knowledge that could guide global thinking on nature conservation, ecological issues, and climate change.
Research in the field includes the use of literary imagination and eco-criticism to examine narratives on, and attitudes to climate change, environmental history (pre and post colonialism), digital humanities (such as text analytics and scenario-building techniques to analyse data), governance and managing scarce resources across boundaries, agency on policy issues, and the environmental impact and sustainability of the African middle class in the context of consumerist ideologies and global capitalism.
The African Observatory for Environmental Humanities is based at UP and headed by Prof James Ogude, the Director of the Centre for the Advancement of Scholarship. The Observatory hopes to expand its research footprint and membership across Africa to develop and encourage intercontinental scholarly collaborations in this field. The UP scholars who are part of the African Observatory are Prof Innocent Pikirayi (Department of Anthropology and Archaeology), Prof Antoinette Lombard (Department of Social Work and Criminology), Prof Amanda du Preez (Department of Visual Arts), Dr Rebecca Fasseltis (Department of English), Ms Melanie Murcott (Department of Public Law), Dr Bibi Burger (Department of Afrikaans) and Dr Silindiwe Sibanda (Department of English).
The conference will take place from 4 to 6 August 2017. Keynote addresses will be delivered by Prof Jacob Dlamini (Princeton University) and Prof David Theo Goldberg (University of California).