Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies
Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies
The Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies

From the spread of green energy technology and environmental justice movements, to the major challenges to human and non-human life presented by anthropogenic climate change, the health of the natural environment has become one of the central concerns of our time. But as the science grows more certain, questions about how we may best respond – as global citizens, as ethical individuals, as members of one species among many – become even more urgent and complex. What kind of moral framework should we bring to bear on everyday practices of waste and consumption? What is the relationship between aesthetics and political action? How is a profit-driven approach to the natural world culturally bound up with other forms of exploitation – of the working classes, of racial “others,” of children, of non-human animals? Our ability to adapt and thrive, to correct our mistakes and bring a more resilient, more stable, and more just world into being will demand all of the imagination and cooperation our species can summon.

For this reason, the arts and humanities have a central role to play in shaping our understanding of, as well as our response to, the environmental challenges we face. In 2015-6, the Texas Institute for Literary and Textual Studies (TILTS) will convene scholars, artists, activists, and writers for a yearlong series of events on the environmental humanities. Sponsored by the English Department, and generously funded by the President’s office, these events aim to spark conversations across disciplines and between communities - small but necessary steps in addressing these defining issues of our time.