School of Anthropology & Conservation

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Governance and Planetary Crises: Challenges and Agendas for Human Ecology

18th May 2017

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Date: Friday 2nd June, 2017
Time: 10:00 – 13:00
Venue: Marlowe Lecture Theatre 1
Registration: The event is free to attend, but please do register here.

The Anthropocene, as a proposed geological epoch to follow from – or supplant – the Holocene, signals a number of provocations whose significance extends well beyond the remit of geology or indeed the multiple disciplines represented by the Anthropocene Working Group, and which in August last year presented its preliminary findings and interim recommendations at the 35th International Geological Congress.

This special event seeks to explore a central paradox confronting industrial society, if not humanity, as it heads into the twenty-first century: the collective ability of humans, or of some humans at any rate, to fundamentally transform the earth and its life-supporting capability is not matched by an ability to act collectively and concertedly in a way that supports those capacities over the foreseeable future.

Our motivation to invite a select group of scholars who are, each in their own way, directly engaged with this conundrum, emerges from the understanding that the Anthropocene, with its multiple, existential, urgent, cascading and concatenating crises, challenges many of the core categories and assumptions of the various disciplines represented in the School of Anthropology and Conservation, and which shape and guide our research on human-environment interactions.

Our speakers, drawn from diverse disciplinary starting points, each respond to the provocation that the Anthropocene, formulated in terms of governance and planetary-scale problems and processes, signals not just a new geological epoch, but a new epoch of thought and politics, with its attendant epistemic, methodological, institutional, normative and legal dimensions.


  • Professor Frank Biermann (Utrecht University, Netherlands) – Navigating the Anthropocene: From environmental policy to earth system governance
  • Professor Philipp Pattberg, (VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands) – Anthropocene: Challenges and prospects
  • Dr Rory Rowan, (University of Zurich, Switzerland) – Governing the earth: Earth system governance and the post-political
  • Professor Davor Vidas, (The Fridtjof Nansen Institute, Norway) – The Anthropocene: The new meaning of change and stability under international law

Convenors: Dr Miguel Alexiades and Dr Robert Fish.

A flyer for the event can be downloaded here.


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Last Updated: 20/01/2017