The 2015-16 speaker series sponsored by the Fisher Center for the Study of Women and Men will continue its examination of the theme “Gender, Climate, and the Anthropocene” on Wednesday, Feb. 24, with Kathryn Yusoff‘s talk “Towards the Idea of a Black Anthropocene.”
Since atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen popularized the term in 2000, the “Anthropocene” has become a political marker, designating the epoch in which human actions began to have geologic impact. For 2015-16, the Fisher Center is investigating the gendered dimensions of the Anthropocene; considering where we are geologically as a species; raising up the movements and creative responses crucial to politics in the Anthropocene; and highlighting local activism and mapping the global terrain of the current struggle for climate justice.
A senior lecturer in the School of Geography at Queen Mary University of London, Yusoff will trace the historiography of Colonial Man to Anthropocene Man in order to frame the “Geology of Mankind” as a privileged subjective space of biopolitical consideration.
Yusoff’s work focuses on political aesthetics, social theory and abrupt environmental change. Her current book addresses questions of “Geologic Life” within the Anthropocene. Drawing on insights from contemporary feminist philosophy, critical human geography, and the earth sciences, she is interested in the opportunities the Anthropocene presents for rethinking the interactions between the earth sciences and human geography.
On Wednesday, March 30, Zoe Todd will deliver a talk, “Indigenizing the Anthropocene: Prairie Indigenous Feminisms and Fish Co-Conspirators.”
Taking the year 1610 as a possible start date of the Anthropocene — as it coincides not only with the movement of species between continents in expanding global trade routes, but also with the genocide of 50 million Indigenous people in the Americas — Todd examines the intertwined experiences of humans and more-than-human beings. She will focus on the experiences of Indigenous peoples in what is today known as Canada, dwelling on the stories and histories of generations of women in her Métis (Indigenous) family and the fish they shared territory with.
Todd (Métis) is from Amiskwaciwâskahikan (Edmonton) in the Treaty Six Area of Alberta, Canada. She writes about indigeneity, art, architecture, decolonization and healing in urban contexts. She also studies human-animal relations, colonialism and environmental change in northern Canada. She is a lecturer in anthropology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and a Ph.D. candidate in social anthropology at Aberdeen University, Scotland.
The series will conclude on Wednesday, April 13, with a dual talk from Marcela Romero Rivera, Fisher Center Faculty Research Fellow and Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish and Hispanic Studies, and Rob Maclean, Fisher Center Faculty Research Fellow.
Romero Rivera’s talk, “The Creaturely Archive: Women Artists Document the Mexican (Un)Dead,” will explore the violent effect of Mexico’s neoliberal economic program and the ways in which artists like Natalia Almada and Teresa Margolles shed light on “indexical traces” of this violence as it is inscribed on individual bodies and the social tissue. The presentation will focus on Almada’s film “El General” (2009) — and her notoriously violent great-grandfather, former Mexican president Plutarco Elías Calles — and Margolles’s two installations (“Vaporización” (2001) and “La promesa” (2012)) in which she atomizes the materiality of the human body and an abandoned house, respectively, to create uncanny landscapes that put their public in direct contact with the creaturely.
Maclean’s talk, “Black Life Matters: On the Black Radical Imagination and the Anthropocene,” traces the Black Lives Matter movement from its social media roots in the wake of the murder of Trayvon Martin in the spring of 2012, through the movement’s intense media scrutiny and political contestation today. Maclean will explore the implications of the symbolic power conveyed by the assertion that black life (in America and in general) matters, by staging a dialogue between the turn toward the Anthropocene in recent academic discourse and the critical theorization of the “human” enacted in the black radical tradition.
All talks begin at 7 p.m. in the Fisher Center, Demarest Hall Room 212. They are free and open to the public.
The Fisher Center brings together faculty, students, and experts in gender-related fields in the arts, humanities, and social and natural sciences to foster mutual understanding and social justice in contemporary society. Building upon their long-held commitment to interdisciplinary liberal arts education for men and women, both separately and together, Hobart and William Smith Colleges established (in 1998) the Fisher Center to support curricular, programmatic, and scholarly projects which address the question: How do we more nearly realize, through our educational program, scholarship, and presence in the larger community, our democratic ideals of equity, mutual respect, and common interest in relations between men and women?