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Call for Faculty Scholar Applications


The 2023-2024 John W. Altman Program in the Humanities

In an age of environmental peril, what use are the humanities? Environmental problems are often seen as technical challenges requiring scientific expertise. Yet the science establishing climate change and outlining countermeasures has been in place for decades and has received extraordinary public and governmental attention. The relentless warming of Earth in the face of this knowledge reminds us that environmental challenges are also matters of communication, imagination, representation, and justice. Large in scale, entwined with social and cultural institutions, and fundamentally political, they require not only scientific innovation but also expertise in language, law, rhetoric, philosophy, and culture. Indeed, addressing climate change may require nothing short of a new planetary social compact for the use of natural resources, negotiated across hundreds of societies, each with its own traditions, cultures, geographical limitations, and internal divisions.  This project can succeed only through extraordinary intellectual collaboration—the marriage of scientific advances with visionary conceptions of the future, deep knowledge of human history, and a capacity to forge a new ethics of human responsibility for all Earth’s inhabitants, present and future. While the scale of the challenge is unprecedented, much of the knowledge it demands has been the subject of  humanistic inquiry for millennia.

The 2023-2024 Altman Programinvites the Miami University community to join an urgent, transdisciplinaryconversation on environmental justice. What political, economic, conceptual,and cultural barriers stifle the realization of an environmentally just andsustainable society? What is the meaning of “justice” at the astonishing scaleof the planet? What ethical frameworks and imaginative interventions areessential to facing the environmental challenges of our time?  What can welearn from the history of human responses to social and ecological peril? Andhow can scholars, students, and the public forge a more just and sustainablefuture for our planet?  

Call for Faculty Scholar Applications

The Humanities Center invites applications from faculty interested in joining the 2023-2024 Altman Fellows Program on “Environmental Justice.”  The Center will appoint six or more Altman Faculty Scholars to take part in this program, which is described in detail below.

The program will be led by two Altman Fellows, Professor Michele Navakas (English) and Professor Ryan Gundeson (Sociology). Altman Faculty Scholars will join Ryan and Michele in a year-long, interdisciplinary faculty seminar on environmental justice and the humanities. They will also participate in a large program of public events on the subject during the coming academic year.  This Altman Program will be woven into the university's 2023-2024 Focus Program.

Altman Faculty Scholars are expected to attend all program lectures and events, collaborate with each other, present some of their own research or creative work on campus during the year of the program, link their courses to the program, and help plan program events beginning in January, 2023.  Applicants should be aware that most Altman Program events occur weekdays at 5 p.m. and that the Faculty Seminar meets Fridays around lunchtime. Scholars must be available at these times; selected faculty are required to obtain departmental teaching and service assignments that allow them to participate.

Each Altman Scholar receives $2,500 in professional expenses for use during the program year.

To apply, please read the program description below and provide the Humanities Center Steering Committee with an abbreviated c.v. and a 1-2 page statement indicating how your research and teaching might contribute to, and benefit from, the program. Please include your spring 2023 teaching schedule and the names of two or more outstanding undergraduate or graduate students who could benefit from participation as student fellows. These students will be invited to apply by the center. Please submit your application in a single PDF document titled “[Yourlastname] 2023-24 Altman Application.pdf” to by Friday, January 20.

Please direct questions to Tim Melley, Director of the Humanities Center, at