The intensifying global climate crisis calls for a radical re-evaluation of academic methodologies, conceptions and agendas. So far, the sciences have led the way in understanding and publicising the growing crisis, but have not succeeded in bringing about the necessary urgent and wide-ranging societal transformation that we need. For this work, it is essential that the expertise, knowledge, imagination and values of Humanities and Social Sciences are made central to public and policy conversations around how to respond and adapt to the climate emergency. In the case of many disciplines, this requires a rethinking of fundamental aspects of our fields, our teaching, and our forms of public engagement.
Our network, involving participants from many of Oxford’s Humanities and Social Sciences Faculties, working together with climate scientists and a number of external participants, will provide a high-profile forum for interdisciplinary collaboration of a novel form. It has two fundamental and related aims. One is to develop, explore and disseminate a much broader basis for thinking about transformative responses to climate change and related threats. The other is to use the current situation as a provocation to the ways in which humanities and social sciences work together and produce knowledge. Our objective is to deploy the climate crisis as an impetus for a radically transformative intellectual collaboration that can simultaneously be public facing even as it attempts to carve out new ways of making academic knowledge. Simultaneous to this process of rethinking disciplinarity and scholarship through a centring of climate crisis is the development of new pedagogical forms through which we can teach the generations who are facing the complex challenges of an increasingly unstable future.
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