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Global Environmental Humanities
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen


Prospective Spring 2024 students click here.

Heatwaves across the world wrap India, Europe, America, and Asia in a warm blanket of death. Unprecedented hurricanes, typhoons, and inexplicable weather phenomena make rebuilding after catastrophe uninsurable. Sea water temperatures top 100 degrees in the Atlantic for the first time ever. CO2 emissions exceed levels unmatched since homo habilis roamed the earth 3 million years ago. Wildfires blot out the sun in Australia, Canada, and California, suffocating wide swathes of land with noxious fumes. Meanwhile hyperwealthy technocrats concoct increasingly sophisticated escape strategies from Spaceship Earth.

What the hell are we doing?

The Environmental Humanities have long been tasked with the challenge of explaining the end of the world to a public that has been—for decades—unswayed by the depressing numbers and figures published by the Environmental Sciences. The most recent effort, “The Sixth Assessment Report,” published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (March 2023) yet again predicts a dismal apocalypse, barring profound global transformation. It has largely been ignored. In Asia, where Environmental Sciences programs proliferate in the name of EV technology, the Environmental Humanities are loudly absent. Neglecting the ethical dimension of Environmental Studies is bound to have dire consequences.


In this course, we will cover major topics in Environmental Studies, including, but not limited to: Anthropocene studies, de-extinction, nuclear waste, plastics, energy futures, euphemism and marketing in environmental discourse, concepts such as the "gigaton," alien perspectives, doomsday prepping, posthumanism, transhumanism, mutually assured destruction, human extinction, and many of the paradoxes that seem to have locked us, togetherly, unequally, but inevitably in this doomsday predicament.


The future will not be evenly distributed.

Spring 2024

The Once and Future Anthropocene:
Ethics at the End of the World
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Epitome: The end of the world may not be as distant as it once seemed. Some have gone so far as to claim that the apocalypse has already happened—we just haven’t noticed it yet. These apocalyptic anxieties are nothing new, yet they have assumed a newfound urgency in recent years. For scholars, critics, artists, and practitioners working across the arts and humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences—including literary and critical theory, theology, cultural and environmental history, climate science, geology, biology, and cosmology, among others—the end is now. This renewed interest in the end time raises several questions: Just how much future is there? What is the nature of the apocalypse to come? Has it already happened? How has the apocalypse been imagined in the past? What comes after the Anthropocene? What can we learn from survivors of apocalypse? What are our ethical obligations to citizens of the future? How are we to reconcile the race and class disparities of those privileged few who purport to tell the public what the future ought to look like? Are there normative ways of imagining the end of the world? Are certain imaginations better (or worse)?

Proposed for Summer 2023

(click here for syllabus)

GED-2119: The Future is Now! Major Topics in Ethics and Environmental Humanities
The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen

Epitome: This course takes an interdisciplinary approach to the challenges of Anthropocene, ethics, and apocalypse, exploring the ideas of a wide range of theorists, authors, scholars, and artists currently grappling with the ever more imminent end-to-things. Students of this course can expect to learn the skills, vocabulary, and critical analysis to participate intelligently in the intense debates addressing the many manifestations of the climate crisis. Students can expect to improve their writing and debating skills by learning to ground their thinking on the disciplinary rigor of history and philosophy. And importantly: students suffering from climate fatigue—from the very understandable depression resulting from the onslaught of dismal environmental news—can expect to find actionable paths to make a difference.

Spring 2023. Student Feedback: 5.9/6.0
(click here for syllabus)

EXPO E/S-42B: Advanced Writing in the Social Sciences - Monument Culture

Harvard University Extension School

Recipient of a Harvard Extension School Implementation Partnership

Epitome: The overall theme of this course is monuments, monumentality, and monument culture.  Why do certain things get monumentalized, and others not? What sort of community generates a given monument, and conversely, in what ways does a monument generate a community? Students in this course will have the opportunity to choose a monument within their own community and engage in an analysis of that monument. Each student will develop expertise on their chosen monument, which will serve as the basis of discussion, as well as the subject of a final research paper (12-15 pages), grounded in historical research in order to compose a reasoned argument in clear, accessible prose that, in ideal circumstances, may be useful and relevant to the peoples and communities in which these monuments reside.

Fall 2022

Student Feedback on Instructor Rating: 5/5.0

Spring 2022

Student Feedback of Instructor Rating: 4.6/5.0

Summer 2021

Student Feedback of Instructor Rating: 4.86/5.0.

Spring 2021

Student Feedback on Instructor Rating: 4.9/5.0.

Summer 2020

Student Feedback on Instructor Rating: 4.8/5.0.    

Religion 672: Being Human - Ethics in the Anthropocene
Indiana University Bloomington

Co-Instructor with Professor Lisa Sideris, who designed the course.

Epitome: “We are as gods, and we’d better get good at it,” writes American environmentalist Stewart Brand.  For many, this godlike portrait of humans defines what is being called The Age of Humans, a.k.a the Anthropocene. How does our supposed god-like agency transform ethical decision-making and our perception of moral boundaries? How is the very definition of what it means to be human challenged by recent developments in science and technology, and in our knowledge of and interactions with nature and the nonhuman world? We will examine arguments from religious thinkers, philosophers, scientists, environmentalists, ethicists, and others regarding how Anthropocene and “deep time” perspectives impact frameworks of meaning and value, and remake humans' relationship with nature or divinity. Topics include: climate change and geoengineering, de-extinction, wilderness preservation, social justice, gender, race, and equity, biopolitics, and animal ethics.


2021 Spring                                                                                                                                                     


History S-34: Nature
Professor Joyce Chaplin

Harvard Summer School / Università Ca' Foscari

Summer 2019

Summer 2018

Summer 2017

Summer 2016

History of Science 97: Sophomore Tutorial

Members of the History of Science Faculty

Harvard College

Spring 2018
Recipient of the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates

English 182: Science Fiction

Professor Stephanie Burt

Harvard College

Fall 2017

Recipient of the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates

Fall 2015

Recipient of the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates

English 90 / History 84: How to Read a Book

Professors Jill Lepore and Leah Price

Harvard College

Spring 2017

Culture & Belief 45: The History of the English Language
Professor Dan
iel Donoghue
Harvard College

Fall 2016

Science of the Physical Universe 17: The Einstein Revolution

Professor Peter Galison

Harvard College

Spring 2015

Recipient of the Derek C. Bok Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching of Undergraduates

Aesthetics & Interpretation 20: Poems, Poets & Poetry

Professor Helen Vendler

Harvard College

Fall 2014

Culture & Belief 34: Madness & Medicine - The History of Psychiatry

Professor Anne Harrington

Harvard College

Fall 2014

The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated.
—James Baldwin

“Every day was a new revelation… I have always said in my saying or teaching, ‘Make the result of teaching a feeling of growing.’ That is the greatest incentive to continue developing yourself. The feeling of growing.  And today a little bit more than it was yesterday.  And a little bit more than it was last year.  You see?  That you feel: I’m getting wider and deeper and fuller… I have made a sport of growing myself. That was a big sport, and therefore helped me with the sport to make others grow.”

—Josef Albers

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