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Terra Incognita


Within the Summer University program students have an opportunity to take a series of Environmental Humanities courses at HSE Partner University - the School of Advanced Studies (SAS), University of Tyumen, Siberia. The courses that comprise Terra Incognita module provide an intensive exploration of contemporary environmental issues from the perspective of the humanities. Courses will be taught by SAS international faculty holding PhDs from world top universities.

Each course consists of classes introducing students to the environmental problems in question, coupled with “interventions” which complicate the question of how to think about them. Students can choose any number of courses from the list below, each course is 8 academic hours (1 ECTS credit).

  • Wilderness. A series of classes about the creation and maintenance of wilderness, as well as critiques of the wilderness idea. The course explores the histories of national parks, new rewilding initiatives, and the place of wild animals in an increasingly human and technologized world.
  • Resource Politics. An examination of the relationship between sustainability, power, and profit. What is a natural resource, and what bodies and stakeholders decide about the future of resources?
  • Art/Activism. Artists and environmental activists are among the riskiest and most vocal advocates for the environment. What makes something environmental art? How do we imagine its role in decision making and policy? What makes for effective environmental “practice”?
  • Animal Humanities. From the food we eat daily, to the circulation of cat videos, to service dogs, to the mammoth cloning project, animals accompany humans at every step of the Anthropocene journey. What resources do the humanities offer for thinking animal being, and for living alongside other animals more justly and sustainably? 
  • Climate and Society.This course will explore the social dimensions of climate change, including environmental justice, urban poverty, and climate migration. What does a changing climate mean from the social perspective? There will also be two days of interventions, which all students will be required to attend. These are designed to problematize the contents of the classes, with questions concerning methodologies, presuppositions, rhetoric, and affect.

The following additional activities on Wednesday and Friday will be open to all Terra Incognita students free of charge:
  • Poetry. What is environmental poetry and how does it act on us? What is the role of imagination and affects like grief, optimism, depression, and wonder in environmental thinking and decision making? Can poetry offer ways of thinking about our situation that science cannot? 
  • Epistemology. Do we know that climate change is “real”? How should we evaluate the claims of scientists about the environment? What should we believe, and why? How much power should science have?
  • Visual Culture. In our increasingly visual world, the environment often takes center stage. How do visualizing technologies—landscape painting, photography, Google earth, climate mapping, Instagram, etc.—shape environments, as well as the current culture of loss and crisis?
The module will conclude with a bus tour to the neighboring city of Tobolsk, the ancient capital of Siberia (is not included in the tuition fee).

MON, Aug 19

TUE, Aug 20

WED, Aug 21

THUR, Aug 22

FRI, Aug 23

SAT, Aug 24

SUN – MON, Aug 25

Wilderness

Wilderness

Poetry

 

Epistemology

 

Visual Culture

Wilderness

Poetry

 

Epistemology

 

Visual Culture

Wilderness

 

BUS TOUR TO THE CITY OF TOBOLSK

Resource Politics

Resource Politics

Resource Politics

Resource Politics

Art/Activism

Art/Activism

Art/Activism

Art/Activism

Animal Humanities

Animal Humanities

Animal Humanities

Animal Humanities

Climate and Society

Climate and Society

Climate and Society

Climate and Society

Additional Costs:

  • The airfare Moscow – Tymen starts at 50 USD one way, the flight takes 2h40m
  • SAS will provide FREE ACCOMMODATIONS to all Terra Incognita students in the newly renovated dorm located within 20-minutes walk to SAS. SAS will also provide FREE TRANSFER from Tyumen airport.
  • The meals (breakfast, lunch, dinner + a coffee break) at SAS will cost 10 USD a day.