Past, present and future perspectives on the Anthropocene

Dienstag, 19.03.2024

Since the early 2000s the ‘Anthropocene’ has been used as a term to describe the present geological period marked by the intensification of human alteration of the conditions and processes on Earth. Humans now exert a sufficient influence on the earth’s bio and geophysical system for the new definition of a distinct geological epoch. The term denotes a specific human-earth relation which, as scientists and environmentalists alike are increasingly warning, will need to be rethought if the destruction of (human) life on earth is to be avoided. Human-earth relations are also at the heart of much recent anthropological research and debate. We will look at how anthropologists and social scientists have used the term to describe the epoch of generalised destruction of ecosystems, environmental degradation, and global heating. We will also examine both the dominant practices of anthropogenic modifications of the environment as well as question the ways in which the anxieties of the Anthropocene are being dealt with, from a policy level to radical political imaginations of change. This course is made up of three parts. It starts by examining the debates about when to date the beginning of the Anthropocene (beginning of agriculture, colonisation of the Americas, industrial revolution). In doing so, we will historically situate perspectives on human-environmental relations and sheds light on the global power dimensions that rendered dualist concepts of Nature-Culture/Human-Non-Human dominant within the Anthropocene. Climate change being one of the most distinctive features of the Anthropocene, the course then goes on to situate current practices of anthropogenic alterations to the environment and the solutions proposed to mitigate global warming. Finally, it examines future alternatives for the Anthropocene, that rethink human-environmental (economic) relations.

Dozierende(r): Dr. Kiri Santer
19.03.2024:12:15 - 14:00
Ort:EG, 002
Seminargebäude vonRoll
Fabrikstrasse 2e

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