Adriana M. Petryna

Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar

2014

What Is A Horizon?: Toward an Anthropology of the Environment amid Climate Change

Adriana M. PetrynaAdriana M. Petryna2014 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar. Photograph courtesy of Adriana M. Petryna.Adriana M. Petryna2014 Ethel-Jane Westfeldt Bunting Summer Scholar. Photograph courtesy of Adriana M. Petryna.

This book project is an anthropological investigation of the models, values, and tools that scientists are developing to address and manage environmental risk. Dr. Petryna explores emerging scientific practices meant to monitor increasingly unpredictable ecosystemic behaviors, from mega-storms to sea level rise. Her intent is to inform prospective thinking about how natural systems and societal infrastructures might adapt to imminent ecological dangers linked to global climate change. The book is based on ethnographic research carried out among scientists in Europe, Australia, and the United States who are quantifying “tipping points” for ecosystems under threat as well as characterizing early warning signals. Chapters address the “origins of extinction” and what Dr. Petryna calls “horizoning work” and probe emerging ideas about the agency of nature and the role of scientific uncertainty. In the conclusion, she engages activist and human rights thinking about what a “right to recovery” and a healthy environment for affected communities might mean today. The book hopes to inform public debate on the science and policy of global climate change as well as new work in the anthropology of the environment.

Affiliation at time of award:
Edmund J. and Louise W. Kahn Term Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia


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