Ironies of the Anthropocene: working through the pitfalls and potential of the idea
30 August, 2016
Carslaw Lecture Theatre 175
USYD Geoscience Society
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'Ironies of the Anthropocene: working through the pitfalls and potential of the idea'
Presented By Dr Lauren Rickards
RMIT University, Melbourne
Lauren Rickards is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Melbourne, where she also co-leads the Climate Change and Resilience research program of the Centre for Urban Research. Lauren was the inaugural coordinator of the Sustainability in the Anthropocene research cluster at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at the University of Melbourne and in her current research continues to explore the Anthropocene as concept, scientific debate and social and material condition.
Title: Ironies of the Anthropocene: working through the pitfalls and potential of the idea
When: August 30, 2016 @ Carslaw Lecture Theatre 175, 2-3pm
Working out how to handle the Anthropocene story is a real challenge for academics. With its apparent inducement to hit the alarm button, the Anthropocene can seem a ridiculous melodramatic flourish, or a dangerously misanthropic, hyper-anthropic or scientistic message that drowns out critical thought. For this and other reasons, many scholars warn us to be skeptical of the Anthropocene idea. But is there also a risk that we miss the Anthropocene’s vital message and retreat into constructivism and cynicism at the very moment that we need to collectively act? In this talk I explore how the concept of irony may help us negotiate the many academic and practical challenges the Anthropocene poses. Drawing on Bronislaw Szersynski’s idea of an ironic world relation, I outline the various forms, risks and potentials of irony to help us unpack some of the specific ironies of “the Anthropocene”, and the bigger conundrum of how we might respond to them in a critical, ethical manner.