Surviving the Anthropocene Part 2: Of Omega Points and Oil

My previous post lamented the flawed presentation of climate change at the David Koch-funded Hall of Human Origins and suggested that a spiritual-scientific ideology, traceable in part to Teilhard de Chardin, infuses the Smithsonian’s Human Origins initiative and related events. In this follow-up, I take a closer look at this ideology and its connection to broader currents in contemporary evolutionary thought and the Anthropocene. Continue reading

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Surviving the Anthropocene: Big Brains and Big Money at the Smithsonian

We welcome Lisa Sideris, of Indiana University, as a guest on the blog . . . click for her bio, or go to the “Who we are” tab. This is the first installment of a two-part post; please come back again Friday for the conclusion.


In late May this year, two related attractions drew me to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in D.C.  One was an ambitious-sounding Continue reading

“The cognitive niche: Coevolution of intelligence, sociality, and language”

CITATION:
Steven Pinker. 2010. PNAS, vol. 107, suppl. 2, pp. 8993–8999.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
Although Darwin insisted that human intelligence could be fully explained by the theory of evolution, the codiscoverer of natural selection, Alfred Russel Wallace, claimed that abstract intelligence was of no use to ancestral humans and could only be explained by Continue reading

Are we the walrus?

This post was supposed to be about the People’s Climate March.  As I sat down to draft it, however, a headline about a different climate-related gathering caught my eye: tens of thousands of Pacific walruses have again Continue reading

“Postcolonial Studies and the Challenge of Climate Change”

CITATION:
Dipesh Chakrabarty. 2012. New Literary History, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 1-18.
ON-LINE AVAILABILITY:
ABSTRACT:
This article begins by describing how the figure of the human has been thought in anticolonial and postcolonial writing—as that of the Continue reading

Cosmopolitanism in the Anthropocene

What does it mean to live in the Anthropocene?  On one hand, it means that the human species has transformed the climatic and environmental processes of its entire planet.  So radically are we changing our biosphere that we may bring about the collapse of our economic system[1] and perhaps even a sixth “mass extinction event”[2].

But announcements of the Anthropocene do not merely describe. They also prescribe.  Like any environmental matter Continue reading