May 23, 2016 Update:  We are wrapping up the Anthropocene Consortium Lecture Series now and would like to gather responses to it.  If you participated in any part of the Anthropocene lecture series this past year, we would like to hear from you! Please go to the following link to fill out this brief survey. This will help us immensely in planning similar learning experiences.

Thank you for your time!

The “Anthropocene”:  A Problematic Term for Problematic Times

The “Anthropocene” is a provisional term coined by freshwater biologist Eugene Stoermer and further promoted by Paul Crutzen to refer to the period of time in which human influence on the earth is visible in the geological record. Over the past fifteen years, a great deal of debate has surrounded this suggested terminology (see for example, Donna Haraway’s take on naming), including disagreement about the start of the Anthropocene (whether it was initiated by domestication of plants and animals ten to fifteen thousand years ago, or the Industrial Revolution and its astronomical increase in carbon emissions, or the detonation of the atomic bomb).  Others debated why a change by humans should warrant a new name, when other major geological changes have also occurred over time.  Whether the term Anthropocene gets formalized into the name of the next epoch following the Holocene will be considered in the next year by the International Union of Geological Sciences. 

Over the course of the academic year 2015-16, a cluster of academic programs at The Evergreen State College will bring critical inquiry to this concept and related debates through interdisciplinary lenses.  Through a shared lecture series, shared readings, critical engagement and creative responses, we will collectively interrogate this term, its contexts, and related discourses. We will join college communities all over the country that have been thinking deeply about the Anthropocene from many angles, joining in this important discussion. 

The Anthropocene Consortium events will take place from 11:15 to 12:45 on Wednesdays of weeks 1, 3, 5 & 9 during fall quarter, and weeks 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 of winter and spring quarters.