Article published on Anthropocene Biosphere Project

I’m delighted to announce that Trends in Ecology and Evolution (TREE) is publishing “The Anthropocene Biosphere: Supporting ‘Open Interdisciplinarity’ through Blogging,” an article about the Anthropocene Biosphere Project that appeared on the blog earlier this year. Continue reading

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Interdisciplinarity as conversation

This blog is premised on the need for an interdisciplinary approach to the Anthropocene—indeed, to the general question of human beings’ relationship with their environment. And it aspires to embody a certain conception of interdisciplinarity—one which uses conversation as a model for the interaction among people from diverse intellectual backgrounds. Continue reading

Video of Ellis Talk and Panel Discussion

THIS POST CONCLUDES OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

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Moral Meaning & Morally Mending (Nature)

THIS POST IS THE WINNER OF THE PRIZE FOR BEST ESSAY BY A GRADUATE STUDENT ON THE QUESTION, “HOW DID THE ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT AFFECT THE WAY I UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE?” CONGRATULATIONS, ARIELLE!

The Anthropocene Biosphere Project has changed the way that I view the relationship between humans and nature. Generally, there are two prevailing beliefs about the role that human beings play Continue reading

Together, With Nature

THIS POST IS THE WINNER OF THE PRIZE FOR BEST ESSAY BY AN UNDERGRADUATE ON THE QUESTION, “HOW DID THE ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT AFFECT THE WAY I UNDERSTAND THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN HUMAN BEINGS AND NATURE?” CONGRATULATIONS, MARY!

The 2016 Anthropocene Biosphere project brought together intellectuals from various fields to share their intellectual expertise on how humankind is shaping our planet. These experts, through the blog and live presentation, wove together Continue reading

Culture as Climate

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

For ecologists, the meaning should be very clear. The forces of humanity are now akin to those of climate geophysics or biology and therefore as fundamental to understanding the processes that shape life on Earth as Continue reading

On the narrative of cultural evolution and alternatives for human-environmental entanglements

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

Over the past few weeks, our group members have exchanged lively discussion and critique of Erle Ellis’s paper, virtually and in person. At those meetings I have attended, our chats have extended at least for some time towards the domain of Continue reading

Looking at Lenski

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

Work by sociologist Gerhard Lenski is a key building block in Ellis’ article. Ellis has Lenski in mind when he notes that “Evolutionary theorists and social scientists have made substantial progress toward explaining the exceptional growth of human societies and their unprecedented capacity for environmental transformations” (p. 288). Continue reading

4 questions about anthroecological theory from a biologist

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

As a wildlife biologist I have questions about the ways Ellis’ anthroecology theory is different from the long history of ecological theory that precedes it. In reading Ellis (2015) four questions occur to me for which I could not find an easy answer. Continue reading

Cultural Dynamics: An Inside Job

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

In this blog post I will dig into the cultural aspect of sociocultural niche construction. I was concerned about adding my bit without burying it under an extensive set it up, but, fortunately, Zev Trachtenberg’s March 14 post on “The Human Climate” is exactly the introduction my contribution needs. Even better, Continue reading

The Human Climate

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

To understand this massive and sustained human transformation of Earth’s ecology, it is necessary to consider human societies as a global force capable of interacting with and reshaping ecology across the Earth in ways analogous to Continue reading

“When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal”

CITATION:
Zalasiewicz, J., et al., 2015. Quaternary International, 383, pp. 196-203.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
We evaluate the boundary of the Anthropocene geological time interval as an epoch, since it is useful to have a consistent temporal definition for this increasingly used unit, whether the presently informal term is eventually formalized or not. Continue reading

“From hominins to humans: how sapiens became behaviourally modern”

CITATION:
K. Sterelny. 2011. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B, vol. 366, pp. 809–822.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
This paper contributes to a debate in the palaeoarchaeological community about the major time-lag between the origin of anatomically modern humans and the appearance of Continue reading

Hypothesized Hope

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

In preparation for Erle Ellis’ visit to OU’s campus in April, I’ve spent some time considering topics I hope we can address during his visit. Continue reading

“A Paleolithic Reciprocation Crisis: Symbols, Signals, and Norms”

CITATION:
K. Sterelny. 2014. Biological Theory, vol. 9, pp 65-77.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
Within paleoanthropology, the origin of behavioral modernity is a famous problem. Very large-brained hominins have lived for around half a million years, yet social lives resembling those known from the ethnographic record appeared perhaps 100,000 years ago. Why did it take 400,000 years for humans to start acting like humans? Continue reading

Rethinking conservation in the Anthropocene

THIS POST IS PART OF OUR ANTHROPOCENE BIOSPHERE PROJECT–A SERIES OF POSTS ON ERLE ELLIS’ ‘ECOLOGY IN AN ANTHROPOGENIC BIOSPHERE‘ (ECOLOGICAL MONOGRAPHS, 85/3 (2015))

We know that humans are a dominant force shaping the planet, but there’s a debate over whether this really constitutes a new geologic epoch, the Anthropocene. For now, let’s leave this debate aside and focus on a practical question: Continue reading