Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Communications and Arts / Centre for Research in Entertainment, Arts, Technology, Education and Communications
In 2011 the author taught, for the first time, the well-established unit CCA3101/4101 Environmental Humanities in the School of Communications and Arts at ECU (Edith Cowan University) in Western Australia. The unit has a 20-year history through associate professor Rod Giblett and parallels the development of the environmental humanities as a field in Australia, advanced since the 1990s by environmental scholars Deborah Bird Rose, Val Plumwood, Libby Robin, and Rod Giblett. The interdisciplinary field represents growing scholarly interest in the ecological aspects of humanities disciplinesincluding literature, visual arts, theology, philosophy, and cultural studies—and the development of humanities-based approaches for addressing environmental problems. In this paper, the author argues that the CCA3101/4101 unit is a key ecopedagogical resource, particularly with regard to ECU’s recent development of sustainability as a core institutional value. The ecopedagogical principle of critical environmental awareness through radical political theory is a point of intersection with CCA3101/4101. The unit challenges students to analyze the political underpinnings of nature and its representations in the media. The author argues for the complementarity between the environmental humanities and ecopedagogy through the following themes found in the unit: (1) nature as a contested political construction; (2) bioregional and place-based awareness; and (3) equity focus, particularly through aboriginal Australian perspectives on the environment.