Skip to Content
Report an accessibility problem

The PLuS (Phoenix-London-Sydney) Alliance creates, enables and deploys innovative research and education linkages across three globally-focused universities to contribute to a sustainable future by collaborating in the areas of sustainability, global health, social justice, technology and innovation



PLuS Project Partners:

Arizona State University — Core Team:

  • Joni Adamson, Environmental Humanities, Department of English
  • Rimjhim Aggarwal, School of Sustainability
  • Gary Dirks, School of Sustainability

Kings College London — Core Team:

  • George Adamson, Department of Geography
  • Mike Hulme, Department of Geography

University of New South Wales — Core Team:

  • Thom Van Dooren, School of Humanities and Languages
  • Cameron Holley, Faculty of Law
  • Matthew Kearnes, School of Humanities and Languages

Humanities for the Anthropocene: Developing New Approaches to Knowledge, Engagement and Impact

We live in a time of immense environmental change and challenge. Humanity’s role in shaping Earth’s bio-geo-chemical systems is exploding, so much that many researchers suggest that we have entered a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. The contemporary planet-wide crisis is a profoundly ‘human’ one; that is, humans produce many key problems, but also, significantly, provide the best and probably only source of potential solutions to them. This research collaboration centres on the important roles that the humanities might play in better understanding and addressing theses issues. For the most part, sustainability science research is dominated by physical scientists and engineers, with contributions from social scientists studying economics, policy studies and sociology. There is growing recognition, however, that sustainability science requires input from scholars rooted in human values, ethics, cultures, aesthetics and imaginations. Yet despite a history of environmental work within the ‘environmental humanities’, encompassing literature, history, philosophy, religion, human geography and art – for a range of reasons this research has not always been engaged in meaningful ways within sustainability discourse and practice. This research collaboration centres on three themed workshops—Knowledge (KCL), Engagement (UNSW), and Impact (ASU)—to foster meaningful and deep collaborations between humanists and sustainability scientists in three domains—new knowledge co-production, new forms of engagement and participation, and impact evaluation. The workshops will focus on three interlinking areas for which all three PLuS Alliance institutions are considered to be world leaders: climate and society, biodiversity, and indigenous knowledges. A core ambition will be to explore environmental humanities approaches that offer better understanding of what lies behind decision-making, develop modes of collaboration with disciplines beyond the humanities and a range of public stakeholders, and pilot new environmental humanities applications to pressing global challenges.

Workshop Dates:

  • King’s College, London, “Knowledge,” 17th-18th May, 2017
  • University of New South Wales, “Engagement,” 18-19 July, 2017
  • Arizona State University, “Impact,” 12-13 January, 2018

ASU Personnel:

More about the PLuS Alliance: