What’s Method to the Environmental Humanities? Strategies and Tactics for Low-Carbon Inquiry and Exchange

This talk by assistant professor Anne Pasek at Trent University asks what might happen if the environmental humanities were to extend its intellectual project to the domain of research methods. What would more ecologically-just modes of inquiry and exchange look like, and how might they work to reconfigure the global academy for the better?

A server panel lit in blue and green.

Photo by panumas nikhomkhai from Pexels.

What do questions of method mean for our fields of study, and for the climate? Insights from critical mobility studies, the energy humanities, and science and technology studies suggest that fossil energy systems structure the ways we produce and exchange ideas, favouring certain kinds of research and researchers at the cost of others. From extensive air travel to rapidly increasing data needs, it’s also the case that the carbon footprint of the research sector is growing rapidly, at rates that cannot be indefinitely sustained. For reasons of climate action, epistemological justice, or just in anticipation of a wider energy transition, it therefore seems prudent to imagine and organize towards future modes of academic work that do not take cheap flights and servers for granted. Drawing on findings from the Low-Carbon Methods Group, Anne Pasek will outline several prospects and barriers for an academy with a radically reformed orientation towards carbon, focusing specifically on how methodology might present unique political inroads to problems of epistemological inequities and climate justice.

About the speaker

Anne Pasek is an interdisciplinary researcher working at the intersections of climate communication, the environmental humanities, and science and technology studies. Her research focuses on how and when carbon becomes communicable in different communities, to different political and material effects. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Cultural Studies and the School of the Environment at Trent University and the Canada Research Chair in Media, Culture and the Environment. She is also the convener of the Low-Carbon Methods Group, a network of scholars seeking to understand and shape how climate change not only stands to alter what we study, but also how we might do so.

About the event series

The OSEH Environmental Lunchtime Discussion series consists of short, 15 minute presentations by invited guests, followed by a discussion. We invite speakers from a wide variety of fields, both academic and beyond. The presentations are accessible and are aimed at anyone with an interest in environmental issues. All are welcome.

Tags: OSEH, HF, Environmental Humanities, Method
Published Aug. 19, 2021 12:33 PM - Last modified Apr. 21, 2022 11:25 AM