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The aim of Humanities for the Environment (HfE) projects is to identify, explore, and demonstrate the contributions that humanistic and artistic disciplines can make to understanding and engaging with global environmental challenges. ASU is headquarters of the North American Observatory of the Humanities for the Environment international network. 

In creating an Archive of Hope and Cautionary Tales, humanists at ASU are recognizing that historical models, cross-cultural comparisons, and images of plausible futures, that often take the form of stories, can powerfully transform social values, recalibrate understanding of foundational principles of justice and sustainability, and rewrite inaccurate narratives about human relationships to and interdependencies with ecosystems and nonhuman species. With that in mind, contributors to the archive of Hope and Cautionary Tales have undertaken to create a digital archive of stories about how scholars and community members, from sites around the world, are collaborating on projects that work towards increased environmental sustainability and social justice.

Each story and collaboration represented in the archive can be compared, rescaled, and analyzed for its power to transform social values and human behaviors and increase abilities to imagine alternatives and solutions to complex challenges in other locations. Each story in the archive is offered as a template for other institutions and communities to utilize as they consider how best to respond and act in the face of their own daunting environmental and climatological challenges.


Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Consortium for Humanities Centers and Institutes


July 2013 — Ongoing