Established in June 2022, the Committee on Environment, Geography and Urbanization (CEGU) is the culmination of a long-standing collaboration between the Program on the Global Environment (PGE), the Committee on Geographical Sciences (CGS), and many other faculty across the social sciences and humanities at the University of Chicago whose research and teaching address the societal and spatial dimensions of climate change, biodiversity loss, and other kinds of environmental transformation. CEGU builds upon the University’s legacies of excellence in geographical studies while providing a new divisional and inter-divisional platform for scholarship, teaching, and public events related to environment and society across time and space. With over 30 faculty affiliates drawn primarily from the Division of Social Sciences and the Division of Humanities, CEGU seeks to investigate and respond to the environmental challenges of our time not only by advancing climate change awareness, but by actively centering contemporary planetary environmental emergencies in all aspects of social research and humanistic inquiry.
CEGU is responsible for several pedagogical initiatives in environmental social science and environmental humanities, including the undergraduate major/minor and a doctoral certificate in Environment, Geography and Urbanization. Key fields of teaching and student research include urban environmental studies and sustainable urbanism; energy histories and geographies; environmental economics; environmental humanities; spatial and environmental data visualization; environmental policy, design and practice; and community engagement.
CEGU’s major remit is to prepare our students to understand and influence the social conditions that have produced current and imminent planetary environmental emergencies. Through its commitment to a plurality of approaches, CEGU seeks to support and stimulate fundamental interdisciplinary work on the societal mediations of environmental transformations. The intensifying planetary environmental crises of our time necessitate a radical rethinking of inherited frameworks of knowledge in this pluri-disciplinary field. Since its foundation, the University of Chicago has not only supported scholarly excellence but has incubated innovative approaches to research, pedagogy, and practice in response to societal crises. It is in this spirit that CEGU seeks to contribute to the development of a community of scholars, teachers, and students dedicated to the urgent tasks of deciphering contemporary environmental emergencies and, on this basis, confronting the challenges of forging a more equitable, livable, and hopeful planetary future.
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