Whether viewed as a physical environment defined by its geography, as a human environment shaped by culture, politics and economics, or as both, Ghana is experiencing environmental challenges. The government’s ban on small-scale mining and sea fishing; religious noise pollution; or tensions between Fulani cattle herders and farmers are all examples of how often it is necessary to consider the impacts on both nature and society when seeking sustainable solutions. With issues like these in mind, the 2020 School of Arts Colloquium will rethink Ghana’s environment so that these complex issues can be confronted from an Arts and Humanities perspective.
The work of the sciences has most often been the focus for governments as they seek mitigating strategies for protecting the natural environment whilst limiting the potential for adverse socio-economic impact. It is proposed that human-induced problems may be exacerbated by science and technology, which replaces one set of symptoms with another. Therefore, we must treat the root cause by altering human behaviour. In light of the University of Ghana’s commitment to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the School of Arts calls on the arts and humanities to foreground approaches from our disciplines in identifying sustainable solutions for national and regional development paradigms.
Over the last decade, Environmental Humanities has emerged as a more encompassing approach to reconceptualising and interrogating the environment as an intricate natural and cultural phenomenon that requires an integrated disciplinary approach to address changing environmental concerns. The idea of Environmental Humanities captures already existing conjunctions across areas such as environmental philosophy, religion and history; cultural geography and anthropology; ecocriticism; and political ecology. Furthermore, this approach seeks to integrate the debates being developed in different disciplinary contexts through truly interdisciplinary studies.
Central to the School of Arts ‘Rethinking Ghana’s Environment’ project is the colloquium, which seeks to develop emerging discourses in Environment Humanities by asking: “How can Environmental Humanities support our understanding of Ghana’s natural and cultural environments and enable us to realise our responsibilities to them?” Themes for papers and panel proposals could include but are not limited to:-
- Industrial Development and Social Impacts
- Animals, Migration and Land
- Ethics, Justice and Religion
- Archaeology, History and Anthropology
- Culture, Language and Literature
- Biodiversity and Biocultural Heritage
- Urban Environments and Noise in the City
- Climate Change, Politics and Policy Making
- Water, Pollution and Plastics
- Science, Technology and Health
- Education, Employment and the Economy
Abstracts of 250-300 words along with your full name, institutional affiliation and position should be sent to SOA1920@ug.edu.gh by Friday 25th October 2019. Proposals for panels that encourage new interdisciplinary approaches both within the humanities and in collaboration with the sciences are also welcomed.
Colloquium will take place on 1st-2nd April, 2020 at the University of Ghana
2020 School of Arts Colloquium Committee, c/o Dr V.E. Smith, Department of History, P.O. Box LG12, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra GHANA