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The Humanities in a Time of Environmental Crisis

Sydney Environmental Humanities Lecture Series, 2018

Environmental change seems to be happening all around us, and yet voices differ over its causes and consequences. At the same time, our human activity is playing an increasingly significant role in shaping the earth and its future possibilities.

This landmark lecture series will offer a range of talks by leading international scholars in the Environmental Humanities. It will draw on insights from history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and related disciplines and explore the important roles that the humanities can play in addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges of our day.

This Lecture Series is jointly funded and coordinated by the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, the University of Sydney and the Australian Museum.

Lecture Series

Flying-fox - Nick Edards

Gifts of Life in the Shadow of Death

8 March 2018

Hear from Deborah Bird Rose from the School of Humanities and Languages at UNSW, as she examines the intersection of humans, animals and landscape, and the fragility of their relationships in the face of environmental crisis and loss.

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Dry soil

Cultures of Climate

23 April 2018

Join Mike Hulme from the University of Cambridge, UK, as he explores some of the many fascinating ways climates are historicized, known, changed, lived with, blamed, feared, represented, predicted, governed and, at least putatively, re-designed.

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Photographer: Kathie Hodge

Living Biological Objects on the Pedestal

24 May 2018

Delve into the intriguing possibilities that emerge when art meets biology, as Oron Catts, world-renowned innovator at the intersection of science, nature and art, asks: what is life?

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Taro © Cherrie Mio Rhodes

Taupata, Taro, Roots, Earth: The (Indigenous) Politics of Gardening

14 June 2018

Explore the histories and future possibilities of Indigenous gardening in the Pacific region with Alice Te Punga Somerville, from the Faculty of Maori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Waikato.

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Seedling © Kevin Doncaster

Feminist Botany for the Age of Man

12 July 2018

Join Catriona Sandilands of York University in Toronto, Canada as she explores a feminist approach to our complex and fascinating relationship with plants.

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Native American dance. © Timothy K Hamilton

American Dreaming is Indigenous Elimination

23 August 2018

University of Alberta's Kim TallBear reviews the narratives of nature that have been central to building and maintaining US empire, portraying Natives as the less-evolved children of nature in need of elimination through massacre or assimilation.

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Fruits of the Burdekin plum tree © Tatiana Gerus

Dark Emu

18 October 2018

Take a new look at Australia’s past, through ground-breaking research by Bruce Pascoe, award-winning author of Dark Emu: Black Seeds: Agriculture or Accident?, that reconsiders perceptions of pre-colonial Indigenous Australia.

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Environmental Martyrdom and the Fate of the Forests

Environmental Martyrdom and the Fate of the Forests

1 November 2018

Princeton professor Rob Nixon investigates why growing numbers of environmental activists are risking their freedom and lives to protect the environment.

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