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TALK: The Anthropocene: A New Epoch of Thought?

November 4, 2014 from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

The Anthropocene is the informal geologic chronological term that serves as a material (and perhaps metaphysical) marker for human impacts on earth forces. While the Anthropocene might not be a proper name for this epoch, it does nominate a threshold moment that signals the demise of the stable environmental conditions of the Holocene that provided the context for Western thought. What this improper naming does open up, however, is a speculative dimension to environmental thought in both the sciences and humanities, and in doing so it reconfigures the relation between the two, provoking new articulations of environmental relations and its figures of thought (such as Nature and the Human). But what does this new epoch of thought demand from us? What politics and aesthetics are proper to this planetary event, this new epoch? And, how can the humanities give a critical extension and speculative explication of this geology?

Kathryn Yusoff is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London. Her interdisciplinary research focuses on political aesthetics, geophilosophy and environmental change (including climate change, extinction and the Anthropocene). She is currently writing a book about “Geologic Life” that examines the genealogies, geontologies and geopolitics of the Anthropocene.

Sponsored by the IHC series The Anthropocene: Views from the Humanities.


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