Interpreting the Anthropocene: Hope and Anxiety at the End of Nature

International Workshop

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Darrel Moellendorf | Profile

Project description

The Anthropocene is the era of pervasive human impact on the planet. Atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentrations that exceed Holocene peak levels, techno-fossils frozen in Greenland ice sheets, and massive species extinction are all indications of planetary boundaries that have come under stress due to human industrial, commercial, and agricultural activity. Humanity’s relationship to its environment is changing. Lagging behind that change is serious reflection on how best to understand and direct it.

•    Is the Anthropocene best understood as the age of pervasive alienation from an environment made by, but not controlled by, humanity?
•    Does the Anthropocene mark the era of in which the Promethean aim of human emancipation through unbridled productive capacity can be realized?
•    Is the Anthropocene the age of massive and regrettable destruction of natural value, bad both because of the loss of intrinsic value but also because it threatens the foundations of human civilization?
•    Does the Anthropocene present the opportunity for humanity to come into full possession of its rational and reasonable powers by cooperatively managing planetary systems in a manner that is both fair and sustainable?
•    Is the Anthropocene the era in which existing social and global inequalities are magnified due to differential vulnerabilities to the consequences of the alterations in planetary systems?
As we reflect on the Anthropocene and the prospects for humanity and the environment that it poses, the role of human prospection itself can be reflexively thermalizedthematized.
•    What is the importance of hopeful or anxious prospection regarding the Anthropocene?
•    How does prospection itself shape the Anthropocene?
•    Is hope required or at least permitted? And does it matter?

27-28 June 2019
Interpreting the Anthropocene: Hope and Anxiety at the End of Nature

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