On 14 September 2018, readers of Yale-NUS College’s main website were treated to a story (go here for more) about the powerful role of environmental humanities in the College’s programme in Environmental Studies.
Most would agree that understanding and addressing the environmental challenges before us requires a mix of natural-science and social-science knowledge and expertise. But is that enough? Too many may forget that imagination, creativity, and a clear sense of the the human potential are equally important to conceiving and fostering new ways of thinking and living for a better world. These attributes are often overlooked in today’s educational landscape, where technical skills and a storehouse of factual knowledge are sometimes thought sufficient to tackle complex social problems.
They are not, of course, and environmental humanities, a key feature of Yale-NUS’s curriculum in environmental studies, means to fill this void. As Assistant Professor Dr. Schneider-Mayerson says, “while we tend to measure environmental problems through science and often focus on technology and policy in ‘solving’ or responding to them, the ongoing environmental crisis is ultimately the consequence of our values, priorities, and cultures.”
The administrative leaders of Yale-NUS College would seem to agree. The programme in Environmental Studies recently received approval to hire a second faculty member in environmental humanities. “We very much hope to hire a teacher-scholar in environmental history, environment and religion, or environmental philosophy,” explains Head of Studies Michael Maniates “to complement the superb teaching and scholarship by Professor Schneider-Mayerson.” With the addition of this new colleague for the 2019-20 academic year, it will be possible for more students, environmental-studies majors and non-majors alike, to benefit from the transformative education inherent in the environmental humanities.
Congratulations to Prof. Schneider-Mayerson and his students for the profile by Yale-NUS College of their productive semester!