Here’s the call I sent out a few weeks ago to several individuals and groups at the University of Vermont and in the broader Burlington, Vermont, area. More information will follow.
This is an invitation to join and participate in “BASTA!: Bridging the Arts, Sciences, and Theoretical Humanities for the Anthropocene.” BASTA! will be a transdisciplinary scholarly group focused on the theme of the “Anthropocene,” a theme that points to the multiple human and planetary challenges — climate change, ecological disruption and species extinction, resource wars and migration/refugee crises, and so on — that face humanity in the coming decades.
The Anthropocene is in part a crisis of thinking and reasoning, a crisis that calls for concerted efforts spanning the arts, humanities, social and natural sciences, and extra-academic communities. It calls for new approaches in how we conceptualize relations among humans and the nonhuman world(s), and how we approach those relations intellectually, emotionally, and politically.
The initial idea for BASTA! is to serve as an interdisciplinary forum for reading and discussion. Its potential is larger: for instance, it could work with UVM and other local institutions to organize higher-profile events such as invited speaker or debate series, art exhibitions, colloquia or symposia, and the like. To the extent that other academic units or groups are already doing this, BASTA! can join those efforts.
(If “Basta!” is taken to mean “Enough!,” it is an “enough of siloism!” As the Zapatista revolution proclaimed, with its call of “¡Ya basta!”: “Zapatismo is nothing… It only serves as a bridge, to cross from one side to the other… to build a better world.” The model could serve equally well for BASTA!)