Humanities Institute

Humanities Institute and Planet Texas 2050 Partnered to Present a Public Panel on “Climate Change, Social Infrastructure, and Inequality” on October 16, 2018

Thu, October 11, 2018
Humanities Institute and Planet Texas 2050 Partnered to Present a Public Panel on “Climate Change, Social Infrastructure, and Inequality” on October 16, 2018
Dr. Eric Klinenberg

On Tuesday, October 16, 2018, the University of Texas Humanities Institute and Planet Texas 2050 held a Difficult Dialogues public panel on "Climate Change, Social Infrastructure, and Inequality," featuring Eric Klinenberg, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge at New York University. Dr. Klinenberg’s talk and panel discussion is one of two public panels co-sponsored by the Humanities Institute and Planet Texas 2050 that will discuss the environment.

The Humanities Institute’s Difficult Dialogues program aims to bring resources for facilitating dialogue on difficult and controversial topics to the classroom and the public. Founded in 2006 at the University of Texas, Difficult Dialogues began as part of a Ford Foundation initiative developed in response to reports of growing intolerance and efforts to curb academic freedom on U.S. campuses. The program’s public forums focusing on current controversial topics complement its associated undergraduate courses and engage a broader public. 

Planet Texas 2050 is the first in a series of university-wide grand challenges for the University of Texas at Austin, an initiative aimed at tackling some of the most controversial and pressing issues of our time. Developed in 2016, Planet Texas 2050 promotes interdisciplinary collaboration and research around climate change, extreme weather, population, and resource management for the purpose of creating a more sustainable future.

About the Event
Dr. Klinenberg was available to sign books before the event at 6:30pm. His talk, "Climate Change, Social Infrastructure, and Inequality," began at 7pm. The talk was followed by remarks from the evening's discussant, Dr. Katherine Lieberknecht, Assistant Professor in UT's School of Architecture, as well as audience dialogue moderated by Dr. Pauline Strong, Director of the Humanities Institute.

Dr. Klinenberg's book Palaces for the People is available for online purchase from the UT Co-op and can be picked up during regular business hours.

This event was free and open to public.  Photos from the event can be found here.

About the Guest Speaker

Eric Klinenberg’s work has spanned topics from extreme weather events to the sociological value of public infrastructure. His first book, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of Disaster in Chicago, describes the devastating impact of Chicago’s July 1995 heat wave, an event that quickly became one of the city’s deadliest natural disasters. Dr. Klinenberg investigated the previously unexplained reasons behind the destruction left in the heat wave’s wake through years of fieldwork, extensive interviews, and archival research. His most recent book, Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life, was released on September 11, 2018. Along with his books and scholarly research, Dr. Klinenberg has contributed to The New YorkerThe Wall Street JournalThe Washington Post, and This American Life.

Watch Dr. Klinenberg's recent talk "the Chicago Heat Wave: 20 Years Later"  at the Chicago Humanities Festival.

About the Discussant 
Katherine Lieberknecht is an Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Lieberknecht currently serves as chair of Planet Texas 2050, The University of Texas at Austin's first grand challenge research program, and as faculty lead for the Texas Metro Observatory, a Planet Texas 2050 research project. She researches urban water resources planning, metropolitan-scaled green infrastructure planning, and food systems of metropolitan areas. Dr. Lieberknecht teaches courses on urban agriculture systems, water resources planning, urban ecology, and participatory methods. She has published articles in the Journal of the American Planning Association, the Journal of Hydrology, the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, the Journal of Sustainable Forestry, and book chapters published by Yale Press and SpringerNature. Prior to joining the faculty, she worked in the private land conservation field. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biology from the College of William and Mary, a Master's degree in Environmental Management from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in City and Regional Planning from Cornell University. 

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