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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
    • 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).

    • Professor Jennifer Wenzel - 'Postcards from the Future'

    Weds, 20 November 2019, 5-7pm

    Location: OC1.01

    This paper examines the genre of the postcard—a popular technology for the transmission of memory—in order to understand the spatiotemporal politics of Anthropocene imagining. I'm particularly interested in apocalyptic visions of environmental futurity that borrow images of contemporary Third World poverty and ecological degradation in order to posit them as the First World's future. While Europe's others were once seen as inhabiting a lesser past, now they're seen as inhabiting its projected future inferior. The consequences of carbon accumulation in the future are imagined to look a lot like being on the wrong end of capital accumulation in the present, with little acknowledgement of the shared but uneven history that joins them. These are among the thought grooves of the status quo that are so difficult to escape, at least from within the inertia of the fossil-fueled "chain of ease." Like so much else, the future will be unevenly distributed.

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

    Wed, 27 November, 5pm - 7pm

    Location: Social Sciences – S2.81

    • Lunch Roundtable: Work in Progress "Visualising the Anthropocene"

    Thursday, 5 December, 12.00-2pm

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

    This work in progress lunch roundtable is an opportunity for the EHN members to share their current work and research.

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

    Other Events

    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.

    Andrew Patrizio (History of Art, Edinburgh College of Art) - "The Ecological Eye: Setting Agendas across Art History, Theory and Politics" - 8 Oct. 2019

    Respondents: Olga Smith (IAS/Art History), Jonathan Skinner (ECLS), Diarmuid Costello (Philosophy). Event co-organised with CRPLA.