Environmental Humanities Graduate Certificate

Open to graduate students from all departments and schools, including the sciences, the Certificate in Environmental Humanities trains graduate students to integrate methods of the humanities into cross-disciplinary environmental research. Through a shared seminar, two elective courses, and participation in labs and colloquium, students learn to use skills, knowledges, tools, and archives of the humanities to advance pluralist, collaborative approaches to environmental issues.

Certificate Requirements:

Twelve credit hours:

  • 3 hour seminar ENVH 6000: Introduction to Environmental Humanities
    • offered in Spring 2021 by Mary Kuhn (English)
  • 6 hours of electives
    • At least one course from outside the student’s home department
    • EH-themed courses will be listed on website; or, with permission, students may add an EH component to other graduate courses
    • EH electives may also count toward the degree requirements of ones’ program
  • Three semesters of 1-hour participation in EH research colloquium and/or transdisciplinary lab

Students will be assigned a faculty mentor from outside their department to advise course selection and approve credit requirements. The EH faculty mentor may be available, but is not required, to participate on the examination or thesis committee for master’s students and on the dissertation proposal and defense committees for a doctoral student.

Each candidate will publicly present their research in some form, as approved by their EH adviser. Whether in website or podcast form, or a talk or workshop, each graduate of the certificate program will have experience formulating their research for broad public engagement.

Questions? Email Enrico Cesaretti or talk with any EH faculty member

Application Requirements:

▪ Two-page statement of intellectual and professional goals for work in the Certificate
▪ UVA graduate-level transcript;
▪ Academic writing sample; and
▪ Endorsement of participation from the applicant’s DGS

Send applications to Enrico Cesaretti (efc4p@virginia.edu). Applications will be reviewed by a committee of EH faculty and recommendations sent to GSAS.


ENVH 6000: Introduction to Environmental Humanities (3 credits), Spring, 2021

Introducing the questions, methods, and arguments that organize work in the environmental humanities (EH), this graduate seminar is open to MA and PhD students from any discipline, including the sciences and social sciences. The seminar’s primary objective to is to advance graduate student capacities to use skills, knowledges, tools, and archives of the humanities to advance pluralist, integrated understandings of environmental issues. In support of that purpose, the seminar develops critical reflection on methodological questions in EH about disciplinarity, collaboration, innovation, and public engagement.

This seminar runs in coordination with the regular EH research colloquium, which features transdisciplinary research from within UVA as well as leading EH figures from outside the university.

SPAN 7850“Caribbean Environmental Humanities”

(taught in English. It appears as “Themes and Genres”, Wed 3:30pm – 6:00pm)

-Prof. Charlotte Rogers, Department of Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese 

How did the image of the Caribbean as a tropical Eden or a hellish site of malaria and hurricanes come to dominant descriptions of the region by outsiders?  How do peoples of the Caribbean define their own relationship to the islands’ ecologies? This graduate level seminar considers these questions through the lens of the environmental humanities, an emerging method of study that unites humanistic inquiry with environmental science. We will survey the intertwined ecological and human histories of the archipelago from the colonial era to the twenty-first century, including deforestation, the plantation system, natural resource extraction, scientific experimentation on Caribbean peoples and landscapes, and the social, economic, and ecological ramifications of tourism. Most important of all will be our articulation of Caribbean environmental ways of knowing. The course will emphasize how artists and writers resist the legacies of environmental depredation and human exploitation in the region and forge their own forms of ecological awareness. Our areas of inquiry will include literature, art, the history of science and medicine, environmental activism, and cultural studies. Discussions will be in English. Readings will be in Spanish, French, and English with optional translations. Students may submit written work in English, Spanish, or French. 

ITTR 4010/ITTR 6010 – Narrating (Un-)sustainability: Ecocritical Explorations in Italy and the Mediterranean

(taught in English, Tue.-Th. 12.30-1.45)

-Enrico Cesaretti, Associate Professor, Dept. of Spanish, Italian and Portuguese

 This course can be taken by both undergraduate and graduate students. It focuses on the potential fictional and non-fictional narratives have to convey messages that are relevant to our ethical and environmental awareness, and to help us imagine alternatives to existing systems of knowledge and distributions of power. While expanding the notion of text to include material formations (landscapes, bodies, matters), we shall learn about the origins and general objectives of (material) ecocriticism, its theories and methodologies, and various approaches to the notion of sustainability. Focusing on Italy as a geographical sensor that may help enlighten the situation of other places globally, we’ll address a selection of “material narratives” (i.e. the interlaced stories co-emerging simultaneously from places, literature, artworks, films and documentaries) which contribute to shape our environmental consciousness, affect our ethical attitude in the era of the Anthropocene, and help enact forms of ecological resistance and cultural liberation.

By the end of the course, students will be able to: approach literary, visual and material texts as forms of environmental inquiry; appreciate the transnational and interconnected nature of ecocritical inquiries, and the fact that the topic of sustainability includes not only economic or techno-scientific but social, cultural, ethical, and aesthetic-artistic dimensions; assess how various forms of situated narratives may contribute to an increased awareness of global environmental dynamics; deepen a sense of respect, engagement and responsibility for their local environments in relation to global ecosystems; learn about alternative (Southern/Mediterranean) approaches to address ecological and sustainability problems (i.e. ‘slowness’, ‘de-growth’, ‘the Commons’ etc.). 

RELC 8715 “Ecotheology”

Tue 3:30pm-6:00pm

-Willis Jenkins, Professor, Dept. of Religious Studies

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