New Coasts, Climates, the Humanities and the Environment Consortium Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

BATON ROUGE – In the context of climate instability, there is an urgent need for research on the diversity and complexity of coastal zones and cultures through the environmental humanities. As a result, the Coasts, Climates, the Humanities and the Environment Consortium, or CCHEC, is a new partnership among LSU, University of Florida, University of Georgia and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as an alliance of regional stakeholders. With support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in the form of a $150,000 two-year grant, the four research institutions and their public partners will form a consortium to study coasts, climates and environmental humanities.

“Science has alerted society to the slow-moving change that is unfolding around us,” said Craig E. Colten, the Carl O. Sauer Professor in the LSU Department of Geography & Anthropology. “This consortium will address the complex roles of society and culture in responding. A diverse team of humanities scholars whose institutions span the Eastern Seaboard and the Gulf Coast will explore the underlying social values and meanings of nature-society relationships and how they relate to our ability to confront environmental change.”

CHECC engages the land- and sea-grant missions of its member institutions through two initial clusters: “Coasts, Archives and Climates” and “Coastal Futures and the Public Humanities.” These clusters will engage diverse community groups, students and faculty in projects that study the environmental history and impacts of storms and tidal waters on a series of specific locations. Each cluster will integrate archival research with public engagement in order to create humanities-informed models of understanding for contemporary and emerging challenges.

CHECC will have its first meeting at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle, North Carolina on Sept. 26. The meeting will conclude with a public conversation on “Coastal Thinking” between four leading environmental humanities scholars: Hester Blum of Penn State University, Margaret Cohen of Stanford University, Ryan Emmanuel of North Carolina State University and Killian Quigley of the University of Sydney. The discussion will be chaired by Nicholas Allen, the Abraham Baldwin Professor in Humanities and director of the Willson Center for Humanities and Arts at University of Georgia. 

Colten, LSU Center for Collaborative Knowledge Director Michael Pasquier and LSU Coastal Sustainability Studio Interim Managing Director Traci Birch will represent LSU. Pasquier will have a role in the “Coasts, Archives and Climates” component and will lend his work on Coastal Voices to the endeavor. Birch and Colten will be involved with the “Coastal Futures and Public Humanities” cluster and assist with the development of a prototype, “Atlas of Meaning,” for coastal communities in Louisiana and North Carolina.

“This opportunity to collaborate institutionally has the potential to transform individual partnerships into ongoing pipelines between our institutions and communities,” said Elizabeth Engelhardt, interim senior associate dean for fine arts and humanities and the John Shelton Reed Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Moreover, the issues we are discussing demand that we work to-scale. The problems are large; our partnerships need to be equally ambitious. This effort promises to be.”





Contact Alison Satake
LSU Media Relations