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HX 2022-2023

​​Annual Theme

Each year, the HumanitiesX Advisory Council selects a topical theme that is both timely and lends itself to humanities inquiry. In 2021, in the context of much public debate about the issue, the Council selected The Environment: Crisis and Action as the theme for the 2022-23 academic year.


The 2022-22 cohort of HumanitiesX fellows includes three teams, each comprised of two faculty members from DePaul's College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences and a community partner from a Chicago-area nonprofit organization. Each team will collaboratively develop a course related to environmental issues, which will be taught in Spring Quarter 2023. In January, each team will be joined by two Student Fellows, who will assist with course development and deployment.

Team Active Transportation Alliance

  • Tim Elliot

    Tim Elliot

  • Danielle Vance-McMullen

    Danielle Vance-McMullen

  • Jim Merrell

    Jim Merrell

"Communicating with Contemporary Audiences About Environmental Action" explores Gen Z perceptions, attitudes, and motivations related to involvement in environmental causes. It also examines the characteristics and platforms that make public-facing writing for Gen Z effective. As the course unfolds, the students will use this understanding to assist our course community partner, the Active Transportation Alliance (ATA) in developing Gen-Z-focused public communication to spur action on environment-related issues. To develop a strong baseline understanding of what the ATA and the broader urban/environmental nonprofit sphere care about and how they communicate to and engage with the public, students will interview peers about environmental issues and advocacy, as well as about their preferred communication styles and platforms; interview subject matter experts from the ATA; explore theories of urban space; and perform a content analysis of media from several environmental nonprofits that, like ATA, focus on transportation, the environment, and engagement. Once students have developed this baseline understanding, they will work on teams to produce effective, appealing public-facing campaign materials—likely a mix of social media posts, informative blog posts, and perhaps even a short podcast or video—for the ATA to use in their advocacy efforts.

Team Friends of the Chicago River

  • Steve Harp

    Steve Harp

  • Miles Harvey

    Miles Harvey

  • BeckyLyons

    Becky Lyons

    • Director of Environment, Equity, and Engagement, Friends of the Chicago River
    • View Organization
"Rivers of Life: Chicago's South Side and Its Waterways in Words and Images" explores and documents human interaction with the Calumet River system on Chicago’s South Side, focusing on issues of environmental justice and environmental racism. In conjunction with the DePaul Publishing Institute and Big Shoulders Books, students in the course will begin work on a book of oral-history narratives and photographs that document the Calumet river system and its surrounding communities at this pivotal moment for the environment of our city and our planet. Student-interviewer/editors will be tasked with helping community members tell their own stories in their own words, interviewing stakeholders and shaping the raw transcripts into narratives for this book. Additional layers of meaning will be brought to these narratives through the use of documentary photography, a form that provides straightforward records of events, people and places. In addition to photographing the people whose stories will appear in the book, student-photographers will be charged with documenting the waterways of the Calumet system, as well as the surrounding communities and industrial areas. The project aims to provide Friends of the Chicago River with a readily accessible narrative that allows activists and teachers to examine the human dimensions of an otherwise abstract issue.

Team Sophia's Choice

  • Li Jin

    Li Jin

      Associate Professor and Program Director, Chinese Studies
      View Bio
  • Phillip Stalley

    Phillip Stalley

    • Associate Professor and Endowed Professor in Environmental Diplomacy in the Grace School of Applied Diplomacy
    • View Bio
  • Sophia Wong Boccio

    Sophia Wong Boccio

"China's Environmental Voices: Exploring China's Ecological Crisis" explores how Chinese society is responding to the environmental threats the country faces. How have Chinese artists and scholars interpreted, portrayed, and confronted the large-scale economic and political forces contributing to environmental degradation? To what extent is the environmental crisis shaping Chinese culture and society and contributing to a re-imagination of the relationship between humans and nature? In exploring these questions, we will introduce students to a range of Chinese environmental voices including scholars, photographers, filmmakers, poets, and fiction writers. The course will engage students with Sophia’s Choice, a local non-profit that organizes biannual film festivals and guest-speaking events with the aim of promoting appreciation for Asian cultures in Chicago. In the final course project, students will work in groups to conduct research and create presentations that introduce the general public to a Chinese artist(s) working in the environmental arena. Students will present their work in three forms— live/ oral, digital, and poster. The poster and/or digital versions will be displayed during a reception held prior to a film screening that will include a public conversation with the filmmaker(s), organized and executed by the students (with significant mentorship from Sophia’s Choice). The course project will deepen both the students’ and public’s knowledge of Chinese environmental artists and give both a keener appreciation for the causes and consequences of China’s environmental crisis.