Kathleen Morrison
CANCELLED -- COVID-19

Anthropocene Erasures

Anthropology, Archaeology, and Bridging the Climate Divide

The Anthropocene concept has been roundly critiqued for its tendency to conceptualize human action in global-scale, species-level terms without attending to the concrete histories of inequality and oppression that formed the historical circumstances for contemporary earth system change. This “geologizing of the social” vacates the specific histories, human and nonhuman, that have assembled the present moment. But this move has a less well-known significance – the “social” that is so geologized is also, as I discuss, parameterized into the component parts of local and global climate models, the very models we use to understand the present and predict the future. In this talk, I describe how the LandCover6k project, an international working group of archaeologists, historians, paleoecologists, and climate modelers is working to address the foundational problems modelers face in dealing with the past, and, by assembling evidence and understandings from anthropology and archaeology, is using these fields to improve climate models.

Discussant: Hannah Chazin, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University

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