About the event

Join us for an afternoon lecture with Ian Baucom, author of Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery and The Philosophy of History and Out of Place: Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity. Baucom’s work focuses on twentieth century British literature and culture, postcolonial and cultural studies, and African and black Atlantic literatures. He is currently working on a new book project tentatively titled The Disasters of War: On Inimical Life.

This talk will explore how the recent climate crisis has effected a collapse of the long-standing division between humanity and natural history. Human history, human culture, human society have now come to possess a truly geological force, a capacity not only to shape the local environments of forests, river-systems, and desert terrain, but to catastrophically effect the core future of the planet as we enter into the “anthropocene.” As scholars across the disciplines have increasingly begun to argue, addressing the deep time of the anthropocene (both its deep history and its deep future) implies a fundamental re-interrogation of many of our core concepts, such as “nature,” “politics,” “sovereignty” and the “human.” In exploring the coherence and plasticity of those concepts, Bacuom will trace how these shifts toward a range of posthumanist understanding of the “task” of the humanities have begun to reshape the relation of the humanities to the life and other natural sciences.

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