“Human/Nature in the Anthropocene,” with Jim Fleming (STS, Colby)

September 15 at 7:00 in Lovejoy 100

terraformation

Terraformation

The neologism Anthropocene (or age of humans), coined by ecologist Eugene Stoermer and popularized by geochemist and Nobel Laureate Paul Crutzen, has recently struck a cultural nerve, pointing as it does to what may be the decisive epoch of our planet.  What does it mean for humanity to be moving from the age geologists call the Holocene—where the historical records originated, to the Anthropocene—where it seems we may meet our demise?  Are humanists and social scientists wise to appropriate this term, and what can we say about the history and cultural implications of what are apparently multiple Anthropocenes? What is the influence of this concept on us?

Jim Fleming is Professor of Science, Technology, and Society at Colby College. He has written extensively on the social, cultural, and intellectual history of weather, climate, technology, and the environment. He holds visiting appointments at Columbia University and the Smithsonian Institution and is a frequent contributor to public policy debates.

Student Discussions

  • Human/ Nature in the Anthropocene November 7, 2015 James FlemingHuman/Nature in the Anthropocene (lecture slldes) 2015 Anthropocene
  • Anthropocene: Unparalleled Expansion til Doom September 28, 2015 Jay ArrProfessor Fleming once asked whether necessity brings about invention or whether invention brings about necessity. This seems to be as fundamental a question to the human condition as: “What is ...
  • The Anthropocene and the Sublime September 22, 2015 Zachary MondscheinWhile we might like to imagine that “Curating the Anthropocene” is a novel concept, the artistic treatment of the relationship between humans and nature is nothing new. This goes beyond the modern ...
  • The Age of Humans September 22, 2015 mekoppOne point of discussion about last week’s Anthropocene lecture that particularly caught my attention is when we described the current era as the “age of humans”. By calling it the age of ...
  • The Multiple Faces of Hedonism September 22, 2015 eroakleyOne thing which I found fascinating about Professor Fleming’s talk was the comparison of different ways in which people react to the threat of global warming.  He mentioned responses ranging ...
  • What is natural? September 22, 2015 Jessica TregidgoThe Anthropocene as defined in the lecture is the “geological time during which human activity is considered to be the dominant influence on the environment, climate, and ecology of the ...
  • The Anthropocene–Does It Really Exist? September 22, 2015 Kay ShigemoriThe the beginning of the Anthropocene— a new, human-dominated age—was a new concept that was introduced to me during Tuesday’s lecture. It appeared odd to me that there we may ...
  • Is it even possible? September 22, 2015 Sophie SuechtingCurating the Anthropocene is the idea that resonated with me most from our first ST197 seminar. I’ve never thought of attempting to showcase humanities entire impact on nature in one ...
  • Was Global Warming Worth It? (Probably.) September 22, 2015 Samuel LeFeberOur first lecture, and the talk which followed, reminded me of an article titled “Global Warming Was Worth It” (link below) that my Meteorology professor, David Epstein, shared with me during ...
  • The Energy Is Running Out, So Are Black Rhinos September 22, 2015 Stacey HouThe energy is running out, people are screaming. We are doomed with resource crisis, punished by our own wastefulness, scientists warn us. To us modern human beings, it seems that ...