Workshop for Junior Scholars: "After 400 ppm: Science, Politics, and Social Natures in the Anthropocene"

Rutgers University 
March 27-28, 2014

March 27 5:30 pm Keynote address: Sarah Whatmore (Oxford University)
March 28: 9:00-5:00 Workshop sessions

Attendance at both events open to the public

LOCATION: Douglass Campus, Ruth Dill Johnson Crockett Bldg, 162 Ryders Land, New Brunswick, NJ 08901 

For a complete schedule and further information, visit:

Scholars in the social and natural sciences as well as the humanities are increasingly engaging with the notion that the planet has entered a new geological period, the Anthropocene, in which the Earth is fundamentally influenced by human activity on an unprecedented scale.

A recurrent concern throughout scholarly and popular discussions of the Anthropocene is science’s role in framing the crisis as well as finding its solutions. On the one hand, apocalyptic scenarios and questions about the human species’ chances for survival frequently accompany framings of science and technological expertise as the best, if indeed not the only, hope for responding effectively to cataclysmic threats (c.f.Launder and Thompson 2008). On the other hand, some philosophers and critical theorists argue that scientists’ appeals to truths ‘outside’ the reach of social or political forces ultimately amount to a refusal to take responsibility for the central role played by science in expanding humanity’s capacity to fundamentally transform the planet. From this perspective, science’s power to ameliorate the negative impacts of socioecological crises depends largely on abandoning “its…belief in detached objectivity [... and learning to] become reflexive about its own maintenance of the economic inequalities which make it possible” (Saldhana 2013). From both perspectives, however, it is clear that there can be no apolitical reckoning with science in the Anthropocene, leaving many scholars and thinkers to begin re-framing what constitutes politics and re-imagining what politics can do (Stengers 2005, Latour 2004, Whatmore 2002).

This workshop brings together early career academics and advanced graduate students whose research engages critically with the ways in which this profound transformation of the planet and its support systems also entails shifts in our understandings and practices of science and politics.

Eric Sarmiento
Sean Tanner 
Miriam Tola 
Max Hantel 

Sponsored by: The Departments of Geography and of Women’s and Gender Studies, the Graduate Geographers Project, the Women's and Gender Studies Graduate Association and The Center for Cultural Analysis at Rutgers University.