Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University

2012 Visiting Fellowship Program

The HRC is now accepting applications for the 2012 Visiting Fellowship Program.

Deadline: Tuesday, 15th March 2011.

Annual Theme: Ecological Enlightenment

In the 1960s, James Lovelock formulated his Gaia hypothesis about the symbiosis of the earth’s intersecting ecosystems.  He posited a complex feedback loop that somehow maintains, as he put it, ‘an optimal physical and chemical environment for life on this planet’. Little did he know then that the catastrophic role of human agency in upsetting this symbiosis would gain such centrality in scientific debates forty years later. The human as geological agent is a relatively recent formulation. The idea of a new geological age, the Anthropocene, was proposed only as recently as 2000. Today it is a given that the issue of climate change is no longer the prerogative of the sciences and that it needs active intervention from humanists and social scientists.  It needs this intervention not just in apocalyptic, speculative, instrumental or creative modes, but in conceptually and critically informed ways.

What are the challenges to our critical frameworks in the humanities of this radical reconfiguration of human life on this planet? How we do think through the historical coordinates of ideas of self, society, development, freedom, knowledge and responsibility from the industrial age to the information age? Especially when we now know what devastating impact these two ages of human development have had on the earth’s ecosystem? What insights can we gain from alternative ecological models of human habitation? What will an ecological enlightenment entail if it is not founded on the human being’s rational mastery over nature? What, in sum, is the calling of climate on the humanities, and of the humanities on climate change?

For full details, application forms, referees reports and guidelines see
These fellowships are open to everyone who meets the eligibility criteria. Please read guidelines.

For more information contact Programs Manager, Leena Messina. E: