Deserts are demanding and pose large questions to us—questions that invite large ecological solutions. A domain of extremes, the desert challenges its inhabitants to imagine what a good life consists of; how to practice a sustainable and equitable mode of living that life, paying careful attention to the long history of human cultures attempting just that; and the relation of art and story to the creation of both.

Desert Humanities explores our cultural comportment within the environment of the desert Southwest and innovates ways of reconfiguring cultural habits that determine how we bear upon this world. Desert Humanities is committed to life in the desert through building resilient communities and sustainable futures with attention to wellbeing, which is fundamentally a matter of understanding culture, ideas, religion, and society.

ASU’s Desert Humanities initiative’s mission is specific and inclusive, focusing upon collaboration and community-building as the best means of producing new knowledge. The Desert Humanities incorporates four imperatives:

  • Innovate: The Desert Humanities encourages bold humanities-led projects that are materially engaged, philosophically nimble, globally visible, multi-disciplinarily informed, timely, and publicly accessible.
  • Intensify: The Desert Humanities offers a site for convening faculty from across disciplines, giving a home to an ongoing exciting, inclusive, and forward-thinking conversation among researchers, artists, and thinkers from ASU and those from outside of our university. Additionally, the initiative positions past, current, and future work between these collaborators and allies as part of a larger and more visible narrative.
  • Catalyze: The Desert Humanities generates innovative learning opportunities for all, and always includes ASU students in its endeavors.
  • Connect: The Desert Humanities amplify the impact of faculty research and foster alliances with research units worldwide.