Environmental Humanities Series

The NYU Center for the Humanities is pleased to announce a series of events addressing the Environmental Humanities. Convening conversations already taking place among faculty across NYU’s campuses and beyond, the environmental humanities interweave the University’s sustainability initiatives with established and emerging academic fields in environmentalism and ecology (including the Animal Studies Initiative within the Department of Environmental Studies, the Department of Food Studies, and English Literature).

The environmental humanities are a quickly evolving interdisciplinary movement that combines research from the social and natural sciences with the humanities. Scholars, writers, filmmakers, and others active in this field seek new modes for communicating research and are deeply invested in the public’s input on issues ranging from environmental justice to climate change, food security, economic sustainability, and animal welfare and rights. In several of its units NYU fosters humanistic scholarship that underlines the importance of adequately and responsibly representing research about the environment and that critically considers the ethics and aesthetics of politicizing nature. The environmental humanities events at the Center thus deepen a dialogue with other faculty-driven initiatives across campus.

All Events

Spring 2018

Food Politics and Race: Veganism in America

March 27, 6:00-7:30 PM
Center for the Humanities, 20 Cooper Square, Fifth Floor

Is veganism only for white people? Learn about the political and sociological implications and histories of veganism in the United States. Panelists will discuss and raise questions about how veganism is represented, lived, and politicized in the context of inequality, ethics, and social justice.

Featuring David Carter (Founder, 300 Pound Vegan; retired NFL defensive lineman) and Renan Larue (Assistant Professor of French Literature, UC Santa Barbara). More details to be announced.

Hosted by the NYU Center for the Humanities

Fashion and Animals: Ethical Fashion and Environmentalism

April 10, 6:00-7:30 PM
Center for the Humanities, 20 Cooper Square, Fifth Floor

How can animal rights and fashion work together toward a sustainable future? Joshua Katcher, author of the forthcoming Fashion Animals, will discuss the complicated relationship between fashion and animals, and how this relationship has significant environmental impact.

Featuring Joshua Katcher (Founder & Creative Director, Brave GentleMan; Founder & Editor, TheDiscerningBrute.com; Instructor of Fashion, Parsons The New School). More details to be announced.

Hosted by the NYU Center for the Humanities

Beyond Climate Change: Shaping the Future of Humanity

May 18-20, 2018
NYU Shanghai

The 2018 Summit, Beyond Climate Change: Shaping the Future of Humanity, will bring together 30 students for a weekend at NYU Shanghai to rethink the role they can play in exploring solutions to global challenges affecting the environment. This idea came to us from Michelle Huang, a student at NYU Shanghai and former Leadership Initiative Summit participant.

Hosted by the NYU Leadership Initiative, NYU Shanghai, eARThumanities at NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU Office of Sustainability, NYU Office of Global Programs, and the NYU Environmental Humanities Event Series.

Fall 2017

Writing Animals: A Symposium

October 11, 3:00-7:30 PM
Center for the Humanities, 20 Cooper Square, Fifth Floor

This symposium will feature, among others, Charles Siebert (NY Times Magazine) and Karen Jay Fowler (We Are All Completely Besides Ourselves).

The event kicks off with “Animal Genres,” a panel including Karen Jay Fowler, novelist, author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (2014); Alexandra Horowitz, scientist, author of Being a Dog: Following Dogs into a World of Smell (2016); and Andy Newman, Writer of the Pet City Column of The New York Times, in conversation with members of the faculty of Animal Studies at NYU. The keynote is presented by Charles Siebert, author, journalist, poet, and contributing writer for the NY Times Magazine.

Co-sponsored by NYU’s Animal Studies, Environmental Humanities, Department of English, and Creative Writing Program

A Queer Response to Climate Change: What Would Walt Whitman Do?

October 11, 6:30 PM
Barasch Theater, Jeffrey S. Gould Welcome Center, 50 W. 4th St.

Comic storyteller and LGBTQ activist Peterson Toscano takes on the biggest issue of them all–global warming–and does so with humor, heart, and hope. Drawing on his hilarious characters while also resurrecting the spirit of Walt Whitman, Peterson makes connections between LGBTQ issues and environmental justice. He also time travels to the past and the future. Peterson reveals both the seriousness of climate change with positive and possible visions of the future. Audience members will find themselves thinking in fresh new ways and considering their roles on this new planet. 

Part of the NYU Office for Sustainability’s Education for Sustainability lecture series.

Art and Theory in/for the Anthropocene

November 16, 7:00 PM
La Maison Française, 16 Washington Mews

In this talk, Frédérique Aït-Touati will discuss some of the ways in which the Programme d’Expérimentation en Arts Politiques (SPEAP) or Experimental Program in Political Arts, at Sciences Po, founded by Bruno Latour, explores the creative relationship between, and compositional practices of, art (photography, theater, etc.) and theory in the Age of the Anthropocene. Aït-Touati, who now directs SPEAP, will explore how the program brings together architects, designers, academics, members of the civil service, researchers, administrators, activists, and curators within an experimental framework, to develop new ways of thinking—and of feeling and experiencing—this new age in which man had become a geological force.

Hosted by Judith Miller (NYU) and Phillip John Usher (NYU).

Spring 2017

The Sexual Politics of Meat

February 21, 6:00-8:00PM
Kimmel Center, 60 Washington Square South, Room 802

In this multi-media lecture and discussion, author and activist Carol J. Adams discusses the animalizing of women in contemporary cultural images and the sexualizing of animals used for food. Adams is the author of the pioneering volumes “The Sexual Politics of Meat” and “The Pornography of Meat,” and her work has been formative to both ecofeminism and to new directions in critical animal studies. Her lecture will offer an ecofeminist analysis of the interconnected oppressions of sexism, racism, and speciesism by exploring the way popular culture draws on dominant Western philosophical viewpoints regarding race, gender, and species. One of her ambitions is to show how Western epistemologies actually further the objectification of multiple Others, human and non-. In this lecture, she identifies how meat has been a valued masculine-identified protein source and indicates how assumptions about meat eating and its promotion via advertisements, for example, privilege some beings to the violent exclusion of many others. Complimentary vegan food reception to follow.

Hosted by the Animal Welfare Collective
Co-sponsored by Animal Studies Initiative, Asian American Women’s Alliance, Center for the Study of Gender & Sexuality, and The Feminist Society

Climate Action Conference

March 10 and 11, all day
Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, 566 LaGuardia Place
Stern School of Business, 44 West 4th Street

Humanity is facing a global climate emergency, and we must act now to address the environmental, economic and political issues contributing to the problem. The Climate Action Conference aims to mobilize individuals and groups across disciplines and practices. The conference will feature some of the leading figures in the environmental movement as well as leaders from diverse fields such as climate science, medicine, public policy and the arts, as well as elected officials and impacted citizens.

Hosted by Tisch School of the Arts
Co-sponsored by Hip Hop Caucus and Justice Action Mobilization Network

Modern Meat: The Science and Culture of Meat Substitutes

April 21, 2:00PM
Theater 101, Cantor Film Center, 36 East 8th Street

The Science and Culture of Meat Substitutes will be hosted by NYU Animal Studies Initiative and the Experimental Cuisine Collective. The Collective was launched in 2007 by NYU’s Kent Kirshenbaum (Chemistry) and Amy Bentley (Nutrition, Food Studies and Public Health). The event — featuring Prof. Kirshenbaum, Isha Datar (CEO, New Harvest), Alan Levinovitz (Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, JMU), and Ben Wurgaft (Postdoctoral Fellow, MIT) — consists of two panels: the science and business of meat substitutes and the societal dimensions of meat substitutes (history, culture, technology).

Hosted by the Animal Studies Initiative and Experimental Cuisine Collective

Vegan Living: Fashion, Food, and Fitness

April 25, 6:00-8:00PM
Theater 200, Cantor Film Center, 36 East 8th Street

Join us for a conversation about various aspects of what it means to live as a vegan. Panelists include David Carter, Chloe Coscarelli, Josh Katcher, and Dominick Thompson.

Fall 2016

Human Futures

September 23, 2016, 6-7:30pm
20 Cooper Square, 5th floor

Ursula Heise in conversation with Robert Nixon. Moderated by Una Chaudhuri
Co-sponsored by Department of Environmental Studies, Department of English, and Department of Comparative Literature

Sparks of Life: Electricity, Animality, and Film

October 6, 2016, 6-7:30pm
20 Cooper Square, 5th floor

Conversation with Anat Pick. Moderated by Una Chaudhuri
Co-sponsored by Animal Studies Initiative, Department of English, and Department of Cinema Studies

An Inquiry into the Metaphysics of Others

October 13, 2016, 6-7:30pm
NYU Law, Vanderbilt Hall, Room 204

Co-sponsored by Animal Studies Initiative, Department of Anthropology, Department of Environmental Studies, Institute of French Studies, and Maison Française

Love and Death in the Anthropocene

October 24, 2016, 6-7:30pm
20 Cooper Square, 5th floor

Conversation with Ulrich Baer, Dale Jamieson, Bonnie Nadzam, and Roy Scranton. Moderated by Yanoula Athanassakis
Co-sponsored by Animal Studies Initiative, Department of Environmental Studies, and Department of English

Captured at Sea: Trafficking, Slavery, and Illegal Fishing on the Open Ocean

November 1, 2016, 6-7:30pm
NYU Law, Tishman Auditorium

Conversation with Daniel Pauly, Abby McGill, John Hocevar, and Ian Urbina. Moderated by Jennifer Jacquet

Spring 2016

On Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 (5-7pm) we welcomed Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction and staff writer for The New Yorker, in conversation with Professor Eric Klinenberg (NYU Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge), to talk about environmental catastrophes.

On Tuesday, March 8th, 2016 (5-7pm), we organized a Q&A panel with the directors and producers of Cowspiracy (now streaming on Netflix): Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn.

For their support and suggestions on this open-ended series we thank the Institute for Public Knowledge; Una Chaudhuri, Collegiate Professor and Professor of English, Drama, and Environmental Studies; Colin Jerolmack, Associate Professor of Sociology and Environmental Studies, Director of Animal Studies Initiative; and NYU Sustainability. Co-facilitators included Vice Provost of Faculty, Arts, Humanities and Diversity, Professor Ulrich Baer; Director of the Center for the Humanities, Gwynneth C. Malin, and Special Assistant to the Deputy Provost, Yanoula Athanassakis.

Event list:

Disaster and Environmental Justice | February 10th, 5-7pm
Elizabeth Kolbert in conversation with Eric Klinenberg.
Introduced by Ulrich C. Baer

Food and Animals | March 8th, 5-7pm
A conversation with directors and producers of the film, Cowspiracy, Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn.
Introduced by Gwynneth Malin

Vegan Athletes | March 22nd, 5-7pm
David Carter, Rich Roll, Dominick Thompson, and Michelle McMacken (MD).
Moderated by Yanoula Athanassakis
Introduced by Nicolas Delon

Events Hosted by the Center for the Humanities

Vegan Living: Fashion, Food, and Fitness

Date: April 25, 2017

How does veganism translate into a lifestyle and professional career? Hear from four powerful figures in the vegan spotlight who have made it their lives’ work to adopt a vegan lifestyle and embody what it means to live, not just eat, as a vegan.

Panelists include:

  • David Carter — Former NFL Player; Animal Rights Activist
  • Chloe Coscarelli — Vegan Chef; Cookbook Author
  • Joshua Katcher — Instructor of Fashion at Parsons; Founder & Creative Director, Brave Gentleman; Founder & Editor, TheDiscerningBrute.com
  • Dominick Thompson — Healthcare Executive, Multi-Sport Athlete, Animal Rights Activist; Founder & Creative Director, Crazies & Weirdos

Moderated by Ulrich Baer (Vice Provost, New York University) and Yanoula Athanassakis (Assistant Vice Provost, New York University). Introduction by Colin Jerolmack (Associate Professor of Sociology , Environmental Studies, New York University).

Event Location:
NYU Cantor Film Center
36 E. 8th St.
New York, NY

Environmental Humanities Series: Captured at Sea: Trafficking, Slavery, and Illegal Fishing on the Open Ocean

Date: November 1, 2016

This event discusses the intersection of human slavery, trafficking, and illegal fishing on the oceans -- how does it happen, why it persists, and what can be done.

Daniel Pauly, Sea Around Us Project, UBC/Visiting Distinguished Professor NYU
Abby McGill, International Labor Rights Forum
John Hocevar, lead oceans campaigner, Greenpeace USA
Ian Urbina, Reporter, New York Times
Moderator: Jennider Jacquet, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies

Cosponsored by:
Department of Environmental Studies

Event Location:
Vanderbilt Hall (Tishman Auditorium)
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY

Environmental Humanities Series: Love & Death in the Anthropocene

Date: October 24, 2016

Four acclaimed writers show why fiction plays a particular and crucial role in accounting for the world in which we live today, how we got there, and what will become of it. Conversation with Ulrich Baer, Dale Jamieson, Bonnie Nadzam, and Roy Scranton. Moderated by Yanoula Athanassakis.

Co-sponsored by:
Animal Studies Initiative
Department of Environmental Studies
Department of English

Event Location:
NYU Center for the Humanities
20 Cooper Square
New York, NY
United States