EXPO TVDC 392 - Format Jpeg Web - 1800 pixels - 150 dpi Legend : Iceberg érodé in the fjord d’Unartoq, Groenland (60°28’ N – 45°19’ O). Credit : © Yann Arthus-Bertrand

Presentation - Chaire Earth


The notion of climate emergency, which was voted expression (or word) of the year in 2019 by the Oxford English Dictionary, has recently made its way into the public sphere on a massive scale. Such academic recognition underlines that the environmental issue has gained particular visibility, being now a major concern for international organizations, governments and institutions alike, as well as for many citizens.

More than just a topical question, environmental concerns define the expectations of the 21st century. Because the issues at stake are so diverse and intertwined (e.g. climatic, political, economic, social, cultural, technological), they cannot be addressed only in terms of natural phenomena, since the changes and challenges are so inseparable from scientific progress and socio-political decisions. They call for a holistic vision of the world, with a special focus on the notion of environmental humanities.

Environmental humanities

The concept of environmental humanities is an invaluable tool for integrating the relationship between humans and their environment – and their complex interactions. It aims to articulate knowledge that goes beyond the long-standing nature/culture dualism. In so doing, it implies a rupture – both epistemological and practical – with a well-established Western tradition that postulates that there is a divide between human beings and nature, the latter being seen as a place of exteriority or even strangeness that can be dominated and exploited (often in a predatory way).

Perils, emergencies, challenges

Combating global warming; protecting fragile environments; managing international tensions (climate migrations); seeking sustainable energy resources; anticipating natural (cyclones, tsunamis, drought, etc.) and technological risks: this brief overview highlights the scope and diversity of the perils and challenges associated with this environmental issue. Health, risk, governance, the environmental shield, responsible enterprise and epistemological reflection are the main themes of this project, which aims to combine theoretical and empirical research.

A « total scientific object »

Through the prism of environmental humanities, the ecological crisis requires a decompartmentalization of knowledge and disciplines. Such an all-encompassing scientific object calls on multiple logics, issues, readings and interpretations. This necessary game of cross-fertilization presupposes an interdisciplinary dialogue, both amongst humanities and social sciences (e.g. political, legal, economic, ethical, aesthetic, literary, philosophical, psychological, scientific, media, sociological and anthropological, or geographical and historical) and with the sciences of life, plants, engineering or health, inter alia.


Develop, build...

Expanding academic research to improve how socio-environmental changes in our societies are reflected upon, understood, and explained. afin de mieux penser, comprendre et expliquer les changements socio-environnementaux de nos sociétés.

Raising public awareness through outreach and by disseminating scientific data to encourage reflection, foster public debate and address resistance (climate skepticism, fake news, disinformation, etc.). Raising public awareness through outreach and by disseminating scientific data to encourage reflection, foster public debate and address resistance (climate skepticism, fake news, disinformation, etc.).

Decompartmentalizing knowledge so as to make this Chair a forum for proposing and disseminating academic knowledge to civil society and decision-makers, through value-adding work (including sectoral diagnostics, risk assessment, construction of legal reference frameworks).

Building a collective, open research project with the aim to create a space for joint work and reflection on a multidisciplinary research topic.

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