Professor Tom Griffiths Inaugural lecture as Adjunkt Professor of Climate Studies: ‘Climate Change: A Humanist on thin ice’


Professor Griffiths's inaugural lecture will examine the challenges and opportunities for the humanities in the field of climate change research. Although the lion's share of public debate has centered on research findings in the natural sciences and neighbouring disciplines, Professor Griffiths maintains that the great unanswered questions of climate change research reside within the humanities and social sciences. Understanding the complexities of human causation - and the human response - to the dilemma of climate change is an issue that humanists are only beginning to grapple with. Indeed this would seem to be one of the major legacies of the Cop15 conference.

The Institute for English, German and Romance Studies extends this open invitation to come and listen to one of the most respected and original thinkers in this field in the world today.

Tom Griffiths has been appointed Adjunct Professor of Climate Studies at the Institute for English, German and Romance Studies, University of Copenhagen.  He is one of Australia's leading environmental historians, and Professor of History in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University. His books include Hunters and Collectors: The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia (winner of the Victorian and NSW Premiers' Literary Prizes for Non-Fiction, the Eureka Prize, the Ernest Scott Prize for History and the NSW ‘Book of the Year' Award for 1996); Forests of Ash: An Environmental History (a finalist in the Eureka Science Book Prize for 2002); and Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (Harvard University Press, 2007), which won the Queensland Premier's Literary Award for Non-Fiction in 2007, the Douglas Stewart Prize at the 2008 NSW Premier's Literary Awards; and the Australian Prime Minister's History Prize in 2008. In the summer of 2002-3, Tom travelled to Antarctica as a Humanities Fellow with the Australian Antarctic Division, and in the spring of 2008 he journeyed to Greenland to explore his interest in the human dimension of melting ice caps from a northern perspective. He is thus one of the few humanities researchers in the world to have examined this problem directly from the opposite poles of the earth.