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"Excavating the Anthropocene"

A series of research seminars organized during the academic year 2019-2020 on the theme of "Excavating the Anthropocene". This programme is supported through the IAS Award with an aim of establishing Environmental Humanities as a new field of cross-disciplinary research at Warwick.

This research series engages participants from several fields of humanities to bring critical humanist perspectives to environmental research. The humanities, as a body of disciplines concerned with human culture, bring indispensable critical frameworks to an unfolding crisis born out of class, cultural and species interaction and conflict. In particular, the humanities can offer crucial excavation of assumptions at work inside the Anthropocene, as it develops as a geohistorical and world-ecological rubric, and potentially as a program, for global environmental consciousness.

Denial of ecological urgency can be attributed to resistance from vested interests as well as to challenges inherent to ecological communication, including difficulty conceiving the scale of "Anthropocene". To address these challenges, over the course of each term a series of seminars will treat a different aspect of "Excavating the Anthropocene": "Visualising the Anthropocene" (Term 1), "Sounding the Anthropocene" (Term 2), "Conceptualising the Anthropocene" (Term 3).

Seminar Organisers:

  • O dot Smith11 at warwick dot ac dot uk (IAS/History of Art)
  • J dot E dot Skinner at warwick dot ac dot uk (English and Comparative Literary Studies)
  • Maria dot Puig-de-la-Bellacasa at warwick dot ac dot uk (Centre for Interdisciplinary Methodologies)


Term 1: Visualising the Anthropocene
  • Andrew Patrizio (History of Art, Edinburgh College of Art) - "The Ecological Eye: Setting Agendas across Art History, Theory and Politics"

Tues, 8 Oct. 2019, 5:30pm - 7pm

Location: Social Sciences - S0.11 (Please see Warwick Interactive map here for this room)

Respondents: Olga Smith (IAS/Art History), Jonathan Skinner (ECLS), Diarmuid Costello (Philosophy)

Followed by a drinks reception, 7.30 PM.

Event co-organised with CRPLA

  • Ignacio Acosta (Artist)

Wed, 30 Oct. 2019, 5pm - 7pm

Location: Social Sciences – S2.81 (Please see Warwick Interactive map here for this room)

Presentation of Ignacio Acosta’s work is followed by a reading group:

TJ Demos, "Between Rebel Creativity and Reification: For and Against Visual Activism", in Journal of Visual Culture (2016): (please contact us if you are unable to access this article).

  • Tiago de Luca (Film and Television Studies, University of Warwick) - "Beyond "Blue Planet": The Multi-Perspectival Vision of Nikolaus Geyrhalter's Earth (2019)"

Wed, 27 November, 5pm - 7pm

Location: Social Sciences – S2.81 (Please see Warwick Interactive map here for this room)

  • Roundtable: "Representing Landscape in the Anthropocene"

Thursday, 5 December, 12.00-2pm

Location: Oculus – OC0.04 (Please see Warwick Interactive map here for this room)


Lucia Pietroiusti (Serpentine Galleries). Curator of General Ecology at the Serpentine Galleries and curator of Sun & Sea (Marina) the Lithuanian Pavilion at the 58th Venice Biennale, 2019.

Chrystel Lebas (artist). Photographic work that investigates landscapes and mankind’s relationship with nature.

Olga Smith (University of Warwick). Editor of a special issue of the journal Photographies ‘Photography and Landscape’ (2019).

For conferences with open calls for papers, take a look at the Research and Impact Opportunities page.

Other Events

'Er Indoors': Domesticity and Nature in Home and Garden – 23 November 2019

Domesticity and Nature in Home and Garden seeks to provide a fresh, interdisciplinary perspective on the interaction of humans with the environment by focusing on the relationship between the house and the garden across time and place, on the ways in which family life occurs in the domestic space and how it moves between the indoors and the outdoors. This conference will promote a rethink of our place in the nature that is on our doorstep.

'Locust War' Exhibition - Until 16 September, National Museum of Wales (Cardiff)

Outbreaks of the desert locust have plagued agricultural societies since the beginning of recorded history. Robert Fletcher (PI, History), Greg McInerny (CIM), along with forensic entomologist Katherine Brown (University of Portsmouth) and artist Amanda Thompson (Glasgow School of Art) have researched the British Empire's Anti-Locust Research Centre (ALRC) - one of the most prominent efforts ever made to counter the locust threat. The multidisciplinary project examines how the ALRC can be used to explore the boundaries between science, politics and culture, as well as how historical attempts to control locusts can inform responses to the present day threat to agriculture in countries such as Mauritania and Bangladesh. A new display at the National Museum of Wales, ‘Locust War’, uses archives and specimens to rediscover the remarkable work of the ALRC and the challenges it faced to understand and control the desert locust.

Contact us to have your event included on this page.

Previous Events

Environmental Humanities Research Salon – 20 May 2019

This event brought together interdisciplinary academics working in the Environmental Humanities to discuss developing this research, and led to the creation of this network.