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Spirituality in the Age of Global Warming: How Can Science & the Humanities Work Together?

ENGL 246.401
crosslisted as: RELS 246, ENVS 246
instructor(s):
M 2-5:00

We are living in the midst of one of the most severe crises in the Earth's history.  Science confirms the glaciers are melting, hurricanes are growing more intense, and the oceans are rising.  But there is also a deeply spiritual dimension to global warming that does not often factor into scientific explanations of the Anthropocene.  “Spirituality” will be defined not in terms of one particular religion but in relationship to a passionate study of the environment and nature.  Readings will include materials from both the sciences and the humanities such as Donella Meadows’ Thinking in Systems, Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction, Barbara Kingsolver’s novel Flight Behavior, and films such as Black Fish and Whale Rider.  The theoretical focus of the course will be how “multispecies partnerships” can help us better understand and mitigate the effects of Climate Change. The class will work collaboratively on a digital archive with an interactive mapping interface designed in Scalar.  This newly developed platform allows for the creation of multimedia exhibits that will document how Global Warming is affecting coral reefs in the tropics, glaciers in the Arctic and Antarctic, rainforests in the Amazon, and the rivers of Philadelphia.  Students will also work individually to design interactive maps on the Scalar platform documenting their own, more personal interactions with the environment.