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Archive for the ‘AnthropoScene’ Category

Two new publications — one in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the other in The Atlantic — help make a point that critics of the “Anthropocene” (the name, not the geological designation) have been making for years: that it’s not humanity that is somehow at fault for the ecological crisis, since […]

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Fans of Mark Rothko’s color field paintings frequently comment on the spaciousness, immersiveness, and liminality of those works: the way you can stand in front of them and feel as if you are being bathed in some transcendent force that is irreducible to anything else. Great art is (supposed to be) like that: it simply […]

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Here are a few thoughts coming out of the five weeks of readings in decolonial theory that I’m doing with my Advanced Environmental Humanities class (which has been online and open to the interested public). The course is centrally concerned with the present “global moment,” and the following can be considered a short take on […]

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My book Ecologies of the Moving Image takes Andrei Tarkovsky’s Zone, so richly depicted in his celebrated 1979 film Stalker, as a kind of master metaphor for how cinema works and, by implication, how art in general works: it beckons its receiver into following it into a zone where, at best, anything can happen. The […]

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How best to characterize the past decade in books? This list focuses on three themes: attempts to grapple with the nature of the climate and extinction crises, the “ontological” and “decolonial” “turns” in cultural and environmental theory, and efforts to map out the “multispecies entanglements” that characterize our world and the acute challenges we face.

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I just found out that Punctum Books has created a Shadowing the Anthropocene travel mug based on Vincent van Gerven Oei’s superb cover design of my book. Cool. Readers can spare yourself the money for the book (read the free PDF) and get the mug instead! (Hipster alert!)

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I’ve been haunted by Ed Yong’s description of science from the Atlantic article “Why Coronavirus is So Confusing,” which I shared a few days ago: “This is how science actually works. It’s less the parade of decisive blockbuster discoveries that the press often portrays, and more a slow, erratic stumble toward ever less uncertainty. “Our […]

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With New Yorkers forced to stay home, and arts organizations getting creative in how they are making available their offerings, The New Yorker‘s “Goings On About Town” section has suddenly become more relevant to the rest of us, whose visits to the city were previously so infrequent as to make reading it a form of […]

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I have many friends who are despairing that, with Bernie Sanders’s exit from the presidential race, the United States has lost a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to elect a leader who is honest, reliable, and completely untethered to the vested interests that keep our whole system careening towards catastrophe (climate change, ecological collapse, mass extinction, out-of-control AI, […]

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There’s a lot of interesting thinking going on in response to the coronavirus pandemic and how it will “change everything.” Here’s the beginning of a curated sampling. It takes for granted that there will be suffering, a lot of it, unequally distributed and with a preponderance of it coming down on first responders and low-wage, […]

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The following is a short essay I wrote for the Peder Sather/Reassembling Democracy workshop on “Environmental Change and Ritualized Relationships with the Other-than-Human World,” held at UC Berkeley this past December. There are physical boundaries between humans and specific nonhumans—fences, walls, windows (of homes, gardens, kennels, zoos, abbatoirs, safari vehicles, camera lenses, guns); and there […]

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Wow, what a reaction the article described here has gotten… This version includes a follow-up comment below. Jonathan Franzen’s “What If We Stopped Pretending?” articulates an important point about hope and hopelessness in the face of climate change. Franzen suggests that an “all-out war on climate change” no longer makes sense because the scenario for […]

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