Environmental Humanities South (EHS) is a rapidly growing African eco-justice researcher network who conducted a wide range of research projects. The transdisciplinary programme is located in the Humanities Faculty at the University of Cape Town. It is currently a team of fifty Masters and Doctoral students from 15 African countries, complemented with an international network of academics.
Linking African civil society and community-based organisations with university teaching from a wide range of disciplines, EHS supports generative and critical African engagement with global environmental policies, with the goal of strengthening south-north dialogue and action on the planetary crisis.
Based in the arts and humanities and social sciences, with close engagement with law and engineering, and the sciences of earth, life and health, EHS foregrounds the human-ecological-geological relations that were rendered invisible in the modernist and colonial binary that separated nature from society – supporting the exploration of a new paradigm to address the shock of Anthropocene.
EHS develops scholarship that responds to the planetary emergency without dividing the world into the binary of nature and society. The core courses and research programme in EHS are presented jointly in a range of departments – Historical Studies, Sociology, Fine Art, Film and Media, English Literature, Anthropology and African Studies – and include the possibility of co-supervisions and electives across a wide range of departments and faculties.
At EHS, dissertation field research is most often conducted in students’ home languages and focuses on the lived experience of Africans confronted by climate change, new forms of extractivism for the “green economy”, and associated biodiversity and habitability crises.
We welcome graduates from all disciplines in these fields:
Acceptance into the EHS depends on both the application and the availability of a supervisor to provide appropriate expertise for a dissertation project. Please refer to our current resesarch themes and research projects to find out more about our research interest and expertise.
Masters and Doctoral candidates both take the two core courses: "Earth, Ecology, Humanities", in the first semester and "Researching the Anthropocene" in the second semester. These courses offer transdisciplinary research approaches and methods and support students in developing a final dissertation proposal.
Doctoral candidates go on to develop dissertations in the research stream of their choice. They need to be registered with their primary supervisor's university department in partnership with the EHS research team.
Masters students registered for the MPhil programme complete two additional electives from a wide range of offerings across multiple disciplines.
This is an inventive and dazzling interdisciplinary course whose conception I cannot praise too highly. There is, not to my mind, anything similar on offer in South African universities. The distinguishing feature here appears to be a critical engagement with environmental questions from the position of the global south, which sets this MA apart from its North American and European counterparts. I sense a degree of refreshing intellectual risk-taking and innovation." -- External Examiner, responding to student portfolios from Earth, Ecology, Humanities, one of our core courses.
Dissemination of research
Our research is communicated via:
the EHS projects pages on our website featuring projects (completed and ongoing) and project reports
interactive channels, such as the Water Stories website that shares different stories of Cape Town’s water