How Nature Works

Colloquium, SAR Boardroom

Wednesday, September 28, 2016, 12:00–1:00 pm, Free

Advanced Seminar

Sarah Besky, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology & Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University;
Alexander Blanchette, Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, Tufts University;
Naisargi Dave, Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto

How Nature Works aims to develop an anthropology of labor and work that is attuned and accountable to the potentially irreversible effects of climate change, extinction, and deforestation. Since the Enlightenment or earlier, work has been framed as a privileged and uniquely human capability. The realization of such a philosophy, however, has led to a marred planet saturated with human labor, one that we provocatively suggest is not so much “polluted” as it is “overworked.” The goal of this seminar is to respond philosophically and politically by going beyond the anthropocentric documentation of human work on nature, and instead attempt to develop a language for thinking about how nature works. The talk will provide an overview of the seminar’s concerns and intellectual inspirations, a briefing of current debates within the seminar, and a sampling of the type of ethnographic projects that participants have developed.

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