As we get started with our series on the urban Anthropocene, I’d like to approach the topic as a biologist, and think of cities as places filled with various kinds of life.
[This is the continuation of the post from last week.]
The Plain of Catania, atop which the city of Catania sits, is land reclaimed from the Ionian Sea by Etna’s lava and other subterranean volcanic uplift. Johann Wolfgang Goethe, who traveled across it while writing the letters and notes that became his Italian Journey, refers quite accurately on May 1, 1787 to Continue reading
In Homer’s Odyssey (9.443), Polyphemus cries out “Nohbdy, Nohbdy’s tricked me, Nohbdy’s ruined me” after Odysseus, his captive and prospective meal, blinds him and eventually flees from his lair. Continue reading
If you have ever been lucky enough to see a tropical reef, you will know what I mean: these are places of Continue reading
I’d like to share two recent items from the news that make a sobering pairing.
The first is an opinion piece in the New York Times by psychologist Martin Seligman and Times science writer John Tierny summarizing a new theory about human beings that emphasizes our orientation toward the future. Continue reading
resistance (Biology): Ability (of an organism, tissue, or cell) to withstand a destructive agent or condition such as a chemical compound, a disease agent, or an environmental stressor. (American Heritage® Medical Dictionary) Continue reading
Stratigraphy is the science of rock strata; in geological terms, this translates to the science of time. But what IS time? Difficult to define, for certain, but most of us can agree that it marks the passage of events. We experience the passage of Continue reading
On November 4, 1966, the Arno overflowed its banks into the streets of Florence. A number of prominent foreign art historians, including Frederick Hartt and John Shearman, arrived soon thereafter to assist their Italian colleagues, working generally under the oversight of the Uffizi’s conservation director Umberto Baldini, in developing a response to a cultural emergency: the Italian Renaissance was underwater. Their collective expertise facilitated the arduous work of restoring what could be salvaged from the flood, which had Continue reading
We welcome Kyle Powys Whyte, of Michigan State University, as a guest on the blog . . . click for his bio, or go to the “Who we are” tab.
I bet there have probably been more than a hundred events organized for the purpose of fostering dialogue of all kinds on what meanings and futures are presupposed by the “anthropocene.” I have been to some of them. I even just Continue reading
In this season of the solstice, the natural world reminds us that at the darkest moment light can return. But our own nature is such that brighter days in the human sense are not inevitable–they must be strived for and accomplished. Here’s to the joy of imagining, and working toward, a truly habitable future.
Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about refusal and resistance. What is the difference between them? And what implications does this distinction have for individual and collective action? In part, my preoccupation reflects Continue reading
The city is in some sense our niche; we belong there, and no one can achieve full humanity without it. (Holmes Rolston III)
In this post, I want to turn our gaze to cities as the paradigmatic embodiment of niche construction in the Anthropocene. I wish to outline Continue reading
The ontological claims embroiled in the notion of the Anthropocene have so far attracted less attention than other issues. However, as I will try to show, it is important to engage in a thorough reflection on them—which I hope to kick start with the following contribution. Continue reading
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