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Week 7. The Environment in the Age of Anthropocene


Why is the environment a topic of global concern? Can we read the history of globalization as one of increasing competition for natural resources such as coal, food and energy? Can we say that climate change is a recent problem? How important are the environment and climatic conditions in shaping people’s lives? Which tools do states and international organisations use to address issues of resources and global climate?

1. Key Readings

Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘The Human Condition in the Anthropocene’: The Tanner Lectures in Human Values. Lecture 1. Climate Change as Epochal Consciousness. https://tannerlectures.utah.edu/Chakrabarty%20manuscript.pdf

Julia Adeney Thomas, “History and Biology in the Anthropocene: Problems of Scale, Problems of Value,” American Historical Review (December 2014): 1557–88.

Edmund Burke III, “The Big Story: Human History, Energy Regimes and the Environment”, in Edmund Burke III and Kenneth Pomeranz, eds., The Environment and World History (Berkeley, 2009), pp. 33-53.

J. Donald Hughes, “Global Environmental History: The Long View,” Globalizations, 2/3 (2005), pp. 293-308.


2. Climate, Energy and Resources

Read the handouts. These will be part of the seminar discussion. See Handout 1 and Handout 2

3. Climate on the Media

During week 6, check TV, newspapers, internet and other media and find out whether the environment, resources and the climate feature among current events, discussion etc. Is any space given to historical understanding? And what kind of notion of ‘the global’ or ‘globalisation’ is conveyed by the media? You can work in pairs. Share the materials on the Forum and present what you’ve found during the seminar.