EIHS Workshop: "History in the Anthropocene: The Environment, Natural Sciences, and Planetary Narratives"
- Will Steffen, et al., "The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Approaches," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A (2011).
- Mark Carey, “Science, Models, and Historians: Toward a Critical Climate History,” Environmental History 19 (2014).
Abstract: In the last decade, the concept of the Anthropocene has emerged from the earth sciences to become a keyword across academia and the New Yorker-reading public -- historians, too, have jumped on the bandwagon. But why? What can the Anthropocene do for us? Surely we don’t need geochemists to provide our periodization, and it is hardly news that the industrial revolution transformed the world. Do we crave the authority of the natural sciences as a backstop to our cosmopolitan values? Perhaps a better question would be, “What can historians do for the Anthropocene?” With environmental sciences’ move away from synchronic models of balance and toward reconstructions of path dependent change, a new practice of natural history appears to be in fashion. Combined with scientists’ emphasis on people as forces of environmental change and historians’ renewed interest in global narratives, the opportunity is ripe to breach the boundary separating the social and natural sciences to produce new histories for the twenty-first century. How should historians integrate the findings, concerns, and maybe even methods of the natural sciences into their narratives?
- Arun Agrawal, Professor, Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan
- Emily Merchant, Ph.D. Candidate, History, University of Michigan
- Davide Orsini, Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology and History, University of Michigan
- Richard P. Tucker, Adjunct Professor, Natural Resources and Environment, University of Michigan
- Perrin Selcer, Assistant Professor, History, University of Michigan (panel chair)
Lunch provided. Free and open to the public.
This program is part of the Friday Series of the Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies. It is made possible by a generous contribution from Kenneth and Frances Aftel Eisenberg.