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Themes in environmental humanities

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

We are inviting applications for a 5-day intensive master class on museums and environmental humanities to be arranged in Stavanger, Norway, by University of Stavanger in August 2019. The class will grapple with how we can tell meaningful narratives of human-nature relationships in a rapidly changing world. Museums are sites of storytelling and can thus be a vehicle for engaging the public with complex environmental challenges. Environmental humanities insights through foundational concepts such as care, entanglement, hybridity, and multispecies worlds can play a vital role for museums trying to tell these stories.

Guided by experts working at the museum / environmental humanities interface, this master class allows PhD students in environmental humanities, museum studies, and related fields to explore existing display practices and envisions potential futures. The topics to be covered include the use of objects in storytelling about environmental history and climate change, the integration of human history into natural history displays, the role of narrative choices in how visitors understand nature-themed exhibits, and the possibilities for exhibits to increase environmental sensibilities.
The class will run over five consecutive days. The morning session each day will feature a lecture and works-in-progress discussion with the lecturer. The afternoon session will feature a tour to a local museum followed by a group analysis of the particular museum as a site of environmental storytelling.

Students will be given a reading list of material to be read before the class. During the class, they will develop a personal project that will become part of an online exhibit related to the class themes. After the class, students will be required to write a reflective essay of approximately 3000 words. The course awards 5 ECTS upon completion.

Learning outcome

Students develop an understanding of:
• select transdisciplinary research theories, methods, and approaches in environmental humanities.
• Different communication channels for environmental humanities research

By the end of the course students will be able to:
• Critically apply appropriate environmental humanities theories and methods to a case study
• Create narratives to reach audiences outside of academia, including in digital delivery formats.
• Read and reflect upon academic literature beyond their home disciplinary field

By the end of the course students will be able to:
• Engage with public environmental concerns
• Demonstrate competency in communicating complex environmental humanities issues in understandable ways
• Follow rigorous scholarly practice, including research ethics


Environmental humanities is a relatively new but rapidly expanding radically transdisciplinary endeavour that complements environmental science and public policy. Environmental humanities focuses on the cultural, historical, artistic and ethical dimensions of environmental issues. Rather than being a discipline, environmental humanities has been characterized as a “global intellectual movement” and a “new interdisciplinary matrix”. Although environmental humanities as a field grows out of individual humanities disciplines working on environmental issues, environmental humanities is not an umbrella term that simply collects existing disciplinary-based research; rather, environmental humanities combines humanistic perspectives and fields to create shared points of reference. Environmental humanities broadly investigates the human-environment relationship, producing critical work, reflecting on scientific developments, and engaging in new and creative ways with natureculture transformations.

This course will focus on a specific theme, selected each time the course is offered, to explore the transdisciplinary nature of the environmental humanities. This is not an introductory course, but one that delves deep into a particular theme, drawing on a multitude of perspectives and approaches to extract complex and nuanced understandings. The course will be taught over five intensive days, using a combination of external guest lecturers that are international experts in their fields, UiS faculty members, site visits, and student project work. The course emphasizes collaborative learning and project-based methodologies that connect theory, method, and practice. Students will have preparatory mandatory reading prior to the course meeting and project completion activities afterwards.

Guest lectures:
  • Libby Robin, Australian National University
  • Brita Brenna, University of Oslo
  • Henry McGhie, former Head of Collections at Manchester Museum
  • Karen Rader, Virginia Commonwealth University

Planned museum site visits:
  • Norwegian Petroleum Museum
  • Norwegian Canning Museum and Stavanger Maritime Museum
  • Stavanger City Museum
  • Vitengarden (an agriculture and technology museum)
  • Stavanger Art Museum

Required prerequisite knowledge



Public project and essay
Weight Duration Marks Aid
Public project
Weight: Duration: Mark: Aids:
Public project: 50% 5 days Pass-fail Any
Essay: 50% 5 days Pass-fail Any

Course teacher(s)

Course coordinator
Finn Arne Jørgensen , Dolly Jørgensen

Method of work

Coursework requirements:
Mandatory participation in the five course days.

Intensive five-day seminar.

Open to

Open to:

Students enrolled in a doctoral programme at recognized universities anywhere in the world. Applicants may be turned down due to limitations on the number of places (15-20). Students affiliated with a partner institution of the Norwegian Researcher School in Environmental Humanities will be prioritized.


To be published with each specific course theme. The reading list will be picked in collaboration between external guest lecturers and local conveners.

This is the study programme for 2019/2020. It is subject to change.

Sist oppdatert: 27.05.2020