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The aim of the Humanities for the Environment observatories is to identify, explore, and demonstrate the contributions that humanistic and artistic disciplines can make to understanding and engaging with global environmental challenges. In working "Toward a Just and Sustainable Future," the North American Observatory is rethinking the relationships of human beings to one another, to other species, and to ecological systems in the Anthropocene.

Thinking about sustainability and resilience on an increasingly human-dominated planet, ASU humanists created the project "Life Overlooked." Contributors, including senior academics, community members, and students, raise questions about the consequences of ecological transformation and control for wildlife, plants, and the human-nature relationship. They examine both traditional notions of stewardship (e.g., the idea of overlooking) and also cultural blindspots in traditional modes of interacting with nature. Contributors interview scientists, humanists and citizens in Canada, the US, and Mexico to create an archive that provides the team with opportunities to "think together" in ways that would not have occurred without the support of the Mellon Foundation. Utilizing two research templates: "Living with Critters" and "What’s my Nature?," they engage in applied research that takes them out into diverse communities.



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


July 2013 — Ongoing