Is it still possible to distinguish human culture from the natural world? Or does this distinction make no sense today?
Have humans become “planetary actors” in the sense that our actions now no longer simply have consequences for the human social world, but also for the bio- and geophysical systems of planet Earth? What are the political and ethical implications of recognizing humans as the cause of global climate change? These are all questions raised in recent discussions of the Anthropocene. This course will approach the Anthropocene as a troubling and contested concept linked with geology, biology, and climate change science, as well as underlying diverse political, ethical, and social assumptions. Students will learn to investigate and speak knowledgably about the relationship between nature and culture, come to understand how this relationship is and always has been changing, and explore the political-ethical implications of these changes.