ANTH Colloquium - Kathleen Morrison (University of Pennsylvania)

Monday, September 18, 2017 - 12:00pm

3260 South Street, Rm. 345

Once upon a time, humans lived in harmony with nature, but then...

Of course academics would never fall for such tales. In this talk I discuss some of the powerful yet unexamined narratives of environmental change that have structured understanding of environmental science, environmental history, archaeology, and activism in South Asia. Evaluating such narratives requires attention to both the work these stories do and to empirical evidence that supports -- or fails to support -- them. Upscaling local and continental-scale histories, as Anthropocene proposals do, requires a similar level of scrutiny. I locate Anthropocene discourse, especially within the rather specialized world of anthropogenic land cover change modeling, within existing narratives and point to the dangerous consequences for climate modeling that follow from entrenched narratives of change and ontologies of nature and culture.