Agency in the Anthropocene

Within the humanities, discussions of human agency in the time of environmental crisis have long focused on what is seen as a crucial question about—as well as for—the  imagination: how might we as a species alter our perceptions, beliefs, and thoughts, so that we understand ourselves as agents on a planetary scale, capable of actions with geological force?

Many scholars in the humanities and social sciences have shifted the focus of these discussions from such universalist concerns in order to consider what they view as the globalized, yet situated, material, and interspecies nature of agency in the Anthropocene. Imagination remains central to a number of their accounts, albeit as a means and a practice of creating worlds amid continuing environmental degradation.

Our reading group takes the above discussions regarding agency in the Anthropocene as a starting point for our own. Using a simultaneously historical and interdisciplinary approach we seek to reexamine questions of action, choice, and other elements of agency as well as reflect upon the aptness of the concept of the Anthropocene.

Readings are chosen collaboratively and students from all disciplines are encouraged to join. For more information please contact [email protected].