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
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
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
Even on a quiet day the British Museum in London is full, but on a rainy day during the summer it is positively packed, with a long line of visitors winding around the corner. Adding to the popularity at the moment is Continue reading