The Penn Program in Environmental Humanities is now accepting applications for Graduate Research Fellows for the Academic Year 2017-2018. Materials are due by Thursday, June 1, 2017 (details below.) 


Now in its fourth year, PPEH continues to grow! In 2017-18, PPEH programs, research initiatives, workshops, seminars, performances, and public engagement projects are designed around the central question: “How Did We Get Here?” We invite you to explore this theme and related timely questions:

If things seem bad now, when did they start going wrong? How do we get out of here?

What constitutes improvement? Decline? What qualitative standards and quantitative metrics do we use to decide? How do origins point at some causes while concealing others? Can starting points help focus responsibility? How do stories of rise and fall spark hope or instill despair? How does our periodization of the past shape our imagination of the future? 


Competitive stipends for up to five Penn graduate students are available in AY ‘17-’18. Each $2,000 stipend is designed to support EH projects and provide alternative academic career exposure and training. In addition to the individual project (either the dissertation or research in preparation for it), the award brings with it participation in the year-long credit-bearing Collaborative Research Colloquium led by the Faculty Director, Professor Bethany Wiggin, to develop and execute cross-disciplinary, public engagement projects. Past PPEH Fellows’ collaborations include the organization of a reading group and workshop series, a conference or un-conference, co-authored articles, a co-edited book, an installation, and Data Refuge.  Participants in this PPEH Fellows colloquium also support the successful PPEH Fellows Blog, another Fellows’ collaboration. Each Fellow edits the blog for a six-week period, inviting and creating content that intersects and expands our annual topic. Fellows are expected to attend and contribute to all PPEH events and symposia.

In weekly meetings, we will frame the role of the environmental humanities and think about how public and digital outreach enhances scholarship. PPEH aims to generate knowledge appropriate for our time, now often called the Anthropocene, the Age of the Human. Our era of rapid global change calls for new forms of knowledge creation bridging the sciences and the humanities, the natural world and the human. Penn intends to be among the leaders in this field, and continues to seek active engagement from students as we expand. For further information, visit us at

To apply, attach the following word documents to PPEH Faculty Director, Bethany Wiggin, at, with PPEH Graduate Fellowship Application in the subject line:

  • 1000-word research statement. This statement should include a project abstract, a brief statement about how the project intersects with the environmental humanities and about how it might foster collaboration across disciplines. 
  • 250-word statement addressing the candidate’s vision for public, collaborative humanities projects 
  • C.V.
  • A brief letter of support from the Ph.D. advisor or Graduate Chair

Download the pdf version here