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Anthropocene as Modern Grand Narrative

HIST 382
Fall 2020
Section: 01  
Crosslisting: SISP 382
Course Cluster and Certificates: Social, Cultural, and Critical Theory Certificate

The Anthropocene refers to the new age in which humankind started to have a significant impact in altering or rupturing the Earth's system, and the Earth is now moving out of its current geological epoch (the Holocene) and into "a less biologically diverse, less forested, much warmer, and probably wetter and stormier state." (Steffen, Crutzen, and McNeill 2007, Sciences Module, 614). This course begins by examining the debates on the definition and periodization. It then explores precursors to the concept of the Anthropocene, such as Confucian and Daoist writings on the taming of the natural environment for human needs, the catastrophism vs. uniformitarianism debate, and contesting definitions of sustainability. Finally, it looks at how recent works of environmental history engaged with the concept of the Anthropocene and brought our attention to the impact of the transition from organic economy to carbon economy. Is the Anthropocene a new meta-narrative that professes to be the theory that explains all human activity? Is the Anthropocene a call to arms for environmental justice? Is the Anthropocene just a declensionist fairy tale--one that leads us down a dead end, throwing up our arms in resignation over the irreversible destruction of the natural environment?
Credit: 1 Gen Ed Area Dept: SBS HIST
Course Format: SeminarGrading Mode: Graded
Level: UGRD Prerequisites: None
Fulfills a Major Requirement for: (CSCT)(ENVS-MN)(ENVS)(HIST-MN)(HIST)(IDEA-MN)(IDEA)(STS)
Past Enrollment Probability: 75% - 89%

Last Updated on JUL-15-2024
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