Life and Death in the Anthropocene (Gen Ed 1174)





What does it mean for us -- both as a society and as individuals -- to live in a world radically remade by the human hand?


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Naomi Oreskes

In 2019, geologists voted to make the Anthropocene a time unit in the Geological Time scale. For scientists, this means that future geologists will be able to see the effects of human activities in the stratigraphic record and thereby distinguish this epoch from the ones that came before. But what does this mean for us, as humans living at a time where millions of species are threatened with extinction, where lead pollution reaches every corner of the globe, where endocrine-disrupting chemicals threaten our sexual identity, and climate change potentially threatens the end of the world as we know it? How will we live in a world where--as the United Church of Christ Minister James Antal has
put it--nature appears to have turned against us and it may feel as if we are truly alone? Is it ethical to be happy while the world around us is falling apart? Is it possible? This course will explore the diverse meanings of the Anthropocene, from scientific, technological, literary, philosophical, cultural, theological and personal perspectives, in an attempt to answer the question: What will it mean to live and die in the Anthropocene?

Register for Gen Ed 1174