ANTHROPOCENE NOW! Ecology, Ethics, Politics

SSBF Co-Sponsored Event

Symposium APRIL 20-21, 2018 The University at Albany, SUNY; Anthropocene Now! Ecology, Ethics, Politics brings the humanities—from literary studies to political theory to philosophy and art history—to the forefront of this rethinking.

Event Date: 20-Apr-2018

April 20 - 21, 2018

The University at Albany, SUNY

Standish Room (Science Library)




ANTHROPOCENE NOW! Ecology, Ethics, Politics

For several decades now, and most recently since 2016 when experts at the International Geological Congress announced that the Earth had officially entered the epoch of the Anthropocene, humanities scholars and academics have been tasked with thinking about the ethical and political underpinnings of environmentalism. The new era, defined as a period during whichhumanactivity is seen as a dominant influence on climate and on the planet, requires a deployment of new technologies and a revision of scientific priorities. But it also demands newconceptualapparatuses, ones that critically interrogate policy decisions arising from the global economy and the environmental sciences.

Anthropocene Now! Ecology, Ethics, Politics brings the humanities—from literary studies to political theory to philosophy and art history—to the forefront of this rethinking. We gather on the weekend of International Earth Day to comment on the ways in which the humanities can offer possible models for intervening in, rather than merely reacting to, current ecological and political crises. Our symposium wishes to contribute to diverse efforts across the discipline that strive to generate a framework for a better understanding of the New World Disorder induced by climate change.

Friday, April 20


Ecology: Life / Extinction


Branka Arsić (Columbia), Marvelous Extinctions: Melville on Animal Suffering;
Thangam Ravindranathan (Brown), Vanishing Elephants;
Vesna Kuiken (SUNY-Albany), Shell Heap Idiorrhythmy: Jewett and the Native Americans;
Paul Stasi (SUNY-Albany), “We Had Seen the World Dead”: Virginia Woolf’s Anthropomorphic Imagination


Richard Barney (SUNY-Albany)


Ethics: Energy / Fuel


Jennifer Wenzel (Columbia), Pitfalls of Geological Consciousness;
Jeffrey Nealon (Penn State), The Bodacious Era;
Kristen Hessler (SUNY-Albany), Humanity as a Moral Identity and the Search for a New Environmental Ethic;
Karen Pinkus (Cornell), Climate, Before Anything Else?


Bret Benjamin (SUNY-Albany)


Keynote Lecture

Jane Bennett (Johns Hopkins), Henry Thoreau and the Peculiar Efficacy of “Natural Influences”


Keynote Lecture Response

James Lilley (SUNY-Albany)


Saturday, April 21


Politics: Subject / Community


Morton Schoolman (SUNY-Albany), Reconciliation with Nature: Aesthetic Education and the Visual Image in Whitman's Poetry;
Kir Kuiken (SUNY-Albany), Hölderlin’s Earth;
William Connolly (Johns Hopkins), The Urgency of Time and the Politics of Swarming;
Gregg Lambert (Syracuse), Reflections upon A Silurian Lake


Mary Valentis (SUNY-Albany)


Round Table: The Anthropocene @ SUNY-Albany


Charles Shepherdson (SUNY-Albany)


The symposium is sponsored by the University at Albany, SUNY (the College of Arts and Sciences (Dean’s Office), the English Department, the Council on Research, and University Auxiliary Services), and the Society for the Study of Bio-Political Futures.


Download the symposium poster:

Anthropocene Now! Symposium Anthropocene Now! Symposium (149 KB)


For more information and full program, please visit the symposium website:

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