On may 22nd and 23rd, 2023, on Madrid will be held the first Internacional Conference on Ecological Humanities: “Ideas, Arts and Education for Socio-Ecological Crises and Transitions”. With Boaventura de Sousa Santos in the opening plenary lecture, and Yayo Herrero in the coling plenary lecture.


For years, a space for collective reflection (and an academic area) has been consolidating under the heading “Environmental Humanities.” Why then introduce this new label “Ecological Humanities”? Is it just an urge for academic differentiation? We do not think so. We believe that the socio-ecological crisis is so severe, and the insufficiency of the responses from industrial societies so manifest, that it becomes necessary to go beyond the proposals put forward by Environmental Humanities—in spite of its valuable contributions.
We believe that sustainable development, now embodied in the UN SDG (Sustainable Development Goals), cannot serve as a general research framework for us. It seems convenient to define, within the area of Environmental Humanities, or perhaps beyond, a more specific area of Ecological Humanities where the practice of inter- and transdisciplinarity is firmly based on thermodynamic, geological and ecological realism—a realism conspicuously absent in the dominant culture. Since we live on a “symbiotic planet” (Lynn Margulis), a perspective of symbiosis between nature and culture, reintegrating human systems into natural systems, must pave the way for a new morally non-anthropocentric humanism. Starting from the assumption of biospheric limits and entropic conditioning, we need to search for the processes and the place for a civilization in ecosystem rebalancing. We need to “be earthly again” (Bruno Latour).
We are well aware of the enormous difficulties we face, and we take seriously the socio-ecological (not only climate) emergency and the prospects of civilizational collapse. But we cannot resign ourselves: although the possibility of an egalitarian, conscious and rapid degrowth is remote (given current power relations and systemic inertia), this is the only way to avoid the worst of the present catastrophic course of events. Thus, we convene an International Conference in the spring of 2023 to outline a more defined and committed area within the broad field of Environmental Humanities. This should serve to address the harsh realities and seek concrete paths for a biospheric humanism that may contribute to laying the foundations for a regenerative and truly sustainable civilization.

Thematic areas

– The role of humanities in the face of socio-ecological crisis
– Ecological ethics
– Ecological aesthetics
– Socio-ecological mindset and transformation of lifestyles
– Art and audiovisual narratives in the face of the socio-ecological crisis
– Ecological education and socio-ecological literacy
– Non-anthropocentric narratives
– Criticism of posthumanism and ecomodernism
– Political ecology, democracy and ecological economics
– Transdisciplinary efforts between humanities and science

Abstracts for papers and symposia

Both individual papers and symposia proposals can be submitted. Proposals for individual papers will include a title and abstract in Spanish or English with a maximum of 200 words, plus a brief biography of the author (50 words). Symposia proposals will also have the same format of summary of the proposal and description of the papers included (minimum 3, maximum 5), together with a brief biographical sketch of the proposed participants and the coordinator, who will act as interlocutor for organisational matters.
All proposals must be sent through the platform https://eventos.uam.es/91013/detail/i-congreso-internacional-de-humanidades-ecologicas-pensamiento-arte-y-educacion-ante-las-crisis-y-p.html , which will also serve to process payments.

Dates of interest

1. Deadline for receipt of abstracts: 13 January 2023.
2. Deadline for notification of acceptance of symposia and papers: 13 March 2023.
3. Registration for the congress, reduced fee for early payment (50 € general public, 25 € students): 13 April.
4. Congress registration, general fee (€60 general public; €25 students) until 13 May 2023.