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Art of the Anthropocene

Semester and Year FA 2017
Course Number IDSEM-UG1917
Section 001
Instructor Eugenia Kisin
Days R
Time 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM
Units 4
Level U
Requirement   SOC, GLOBAL



“The Anthropocene” is a controversial term that signals the indelible human marking of the earth’s strata by anthropogenic processes, such as plastic waste, erosion, and atmospheric changes. For many scientists, activists, and artists who use this term, the Anthropocene is not just an objective geologic epoch that follows the Holocene; it enables a critique of human-led environmental impact and provokes us to imagine alternative futures. In this class, we will explore how these groups picture the Anthropocene as more than a geologic era through visual, literary, and ethnographic works that convey the implications of human impact on the world. What are the points of intersection between geophysical and artistic models of climate change? How are experiences of Indigeneity and difference articulated in these future imaginaries? What does it mean to foreground humans in a geologic epoch, and who is excluded from this category of humanness? Students will explore these questions through written assignments in different genres and through the analysis of contemporary art, including work by Edward Burtynsky, Teresa Margolles, and Postcommodity. Texts may include speculative fiction by Margaret Atwood and David Mitchell as well as critical approaches to the Anthropocene by Dipesh Chakrabarty, Donna Haraway, Bruno Latour, Elizabeth Povinelli, and Anna Tsing.


All Syllabi

Course Type

Interdisciplinary Seminars (IDSEM-UG)