Race, Violence, Inequality, and the Anthropocene 2017-18

    The contemporary moment is marked by global environmental change, the collapse of states and the reconfiguration of economies. This era, where human disturbances asymmetrically affect all ecosystems, is increasingly being called the ‘Anthropocene,’ a term that has been vigorously taken up by some European and North American social scientists, humanists, and natural scientists. The Anthropocene is not, however, only a product of recent events, nor is it solely the concern of the global North. We begin from the premise that contemporary Anthropocene conditions are inextricably linked to long-term histories of plant and animal domestication, and to more recent histories of European colonialism, transatlantic slavery and capitalism. We therefore believe it vital to enrich conversations about the Anthropocene – as term, concept, and historical era – by bringing together diverse bodies of scholarship. Studies within the humanities and the humanistic social sciences focusing on how differently situated groups relate to the environment – and imagine environmental presents and futures – have yielded important insights into the nature and origins of global environmental change. A hitherto separate body of scholarship, loosely linked by a concern with the enduring effects of empire, has engaged with the contemporary moment of state collapse and reconfiguration (as is taking place in the Middle East), and of expanding forms of capitalism (e.g. Chinese investments in Africa). Other studies have taken up settler colonialism as a key analytic in thinking about contemporary state formations, patterns of inequality, and the transformation of ecosystems.

    We imagine this research cluster and its campus-wide collaborations to serve as the gateway to a larger and better-funded initiative on what might be called Critical Anthropocene Studies. Given the breadth of existing scholarly and artistic production on the Anthropocene, the goal of the first few years of the cluster is to get a robust sense of that work in order to determine which questions, which methods, and which communication genres would be original avenues to pursue when we apply at the end of the cluster’s 2nd or 3rd year uster for extra-mural funding.

    UC Santa Cruz Faculty Participants

    Principal Investigators:
    Jennifer Derr, History
    Mayanthi Fernando, Anthropology
    Kristina Lyons, Feminist Studies
    Andrew Mathews, Anthropology

    Karen Barad, Feminist Studies
    Nathanial Deutsch, History
    Lindsey Dillon, Sociology
    TJ Demos, HAVC
    Muriam Haleh Davis, History
    Donna Haraway, History of Consciousness
    Laurie Palmer, Art
    Maya Peterson, History
    Eric Porter, History of Consciousness & History
    Anna Tsing, Anthropology
    John Weber, Institute for the Arts and Sciences

    UC Santa Cruz Graduate Student Participants

    Isabelle Carbonell, Film & Digital Media
    Troy Crowder, History
    Rachel Cypher, Anthropology
    Darcey Evans, Anthropology
    Lani Hanna, Feminist Studies
    Kirsten Keller, Anthropology
    Sean Lawrence, History
    Elana Margot, Feminist Studies
    Erin McElroy, Feminist Studies
    Daniel Schniedewind, Anthropology
    Zahirah Suhaimi, Anthropology
    Kris Timken, HAVC
    Vivian Underhill, Feminist Studies
    Brian Walter, Anthropology
    Veronika Zablotsky, Feminist Studies


    April 26, 2017: Traci Brynne Voyles: “Can a Sea be a Settler? California’s Salton Sea and Settler Colonial Frames for Thinking about Environmental (Justice) History”

    April 25, 2017: Traci Brynne Voyles: “Wastelanding: Legacies of Uranium Mining in Navajo Country”

    March 7, 2017: Slow Seminar on Race, Violence, Inequality and the Anthropocene

    January 10, 2017: Film, Photography, and the Scientific Record

    January 9, 2017:  The Land Beneath Our Feet: A film by Sarita Siegel & Gregg Mitman

    October 19, 2016: Slow Seminar on Race, Violence, Inequality and the Anthropocene

    October 12, 2016: Anthropocene: Ecological & Political Consequences of Plantations

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