Welcome letter from Dr. Danielle Endres, Director
Welcome to the University of Utah’s Environmental Humanities Graduate Program! Our interdisciplinary master’s program, housed in the College of Humanities, offers an innovative, research intensive, and community engaged education that prepares students to become future leaders in environmental thought and action.
The Environmental Humanities Program, founded in 2005, seeks to offer a unique educational experience for students based on these intersecting tenets:
- seeking just and equitable solutions to complex environmental and social problems
- considering the role of sense of place in environmental thought and action
- bridging humanities, scientific, and artistic knowledges
- thinking critically about a variety of environmental theories, practices, and traditions
- learning from a vibrantly diverse range of voices, perspectives, experiences, and knowledges
- fostering scholarly work that contributes to both knowledge production and the betterment of our communities
- engaging in respectful and responsible partnerships with community partners, including Indigenous Nations and People of Color communities.
In addition to coursework, students produce research and creative projects based on their scholarly interests with the support of faculty, staff, and community partners. Students in the past several years have pursued projects on climate justice, lithium mining, Indigenous-led programing at state parks, ecological restoration, nuclearism in the West, Indigenous and Pasifika resurgence movements, and more. Our excellent alumni have gone on to pursue doctoral degrees in top national and international programs, work as environmental educators, and serve a variety of communities through non-profit and public service work.
The Environmental Humanities Program is supported in part by a generous grant from the Mellon Foundation that supports our work in three core areas: environmental justice, Indigenous knowledges, and community-engaged research and learning. This enables the program to build and sustain pathways for historically underrepresented students to become environmental leaders, to learn from and respect the lived experiences of those most impacted by environmental degradation, and to work closely with grassroots community organizations focused on a range of issues including environmental racism, disability access, air quality, equitable access to the natural world, energy transition, and more. A dedicated Community Engagement Coordinator supports our students in making community connections relevant to their research and engagement goals. Each semester a funded Practitioner in Residence further supports students by sharing their expertise in community work, environmental leadership, and collaborative problem-solving toward just and equitable environmental futures.
As an interdisciplinary degree, students in the Environmental Humanities Program take advantage of the many resources for environmental and sustainability work at the University of Utah. The University of Utah hosts a world-class faculty doing research on a wide range of environmental and sustainability topics across the sciences, social sciences, arts, and humanities. Faculty affiliated with the Environmental Humanities program use a range of theoretical and methodological perspectives in their research and teaching about climate justice, energy democracy, Native histories and futures, political economies of environmental change, speculative fiction, environmental histories, unhoused peoples’ relations with the natural world, plants and animal rhetoric, science communication, Indigenous decolonization, environmental anti-racism, and more. The Program also partners with campus partners such as the Sustainability Office, Global Change and Sustainability Center, Wilkes Center for Climate Science and Policy, America West Center, Natural History Museum of Utah, American Indian Resource Center, University of Utah Press, and the SPARC Environmental Justice Lab.
The University of Utah is set in stunning natural beauty between the Wasatch Mountains and the Great Salt Lake. The EH program is housed in an historic building that provides community space, meeting rooms, student offices, and proximity to open space.
This is also a place that intersects with systems of power and privilege that have historically and continue to underserve peoples from historically marginalized communities. The Environmental Humanities Program supports the University of Utah’s Land Acknowledgement, but also recognizes that a land acknowledgment is only a starting point for supporting and pursuing equity with Indigenous peoples and their sovereign Nations. The program commits to both evaluating how our program, policies, and location at Ft. Douglas intersect with setter colonialism and contributing to Indigenous sovereignty. Further, the EH program supports the University’s commitments to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion and commits to both critiquing our programs intersections with systemic oppression and to taking actions that enact a culture of belonging and inclusive excellence.
I invite you to look around our website and see the great things our students, faculty, and alumni are accomplishing. I would be glad to hear from you.
Danielle Endres, Director