Sydney HfE Observatory Posts Anthropocene Conference Online and Plans Publications

The Humanities for the Environment (HfE) Australia-Pacific Observatory is pleased to report the following recent events, all of which have been filmed and can be seen in greater detail on our website which has just implemented its third phase:

The following material has now gone live from our Anthropocence Conference



On 25-28 February 2014 we held a major international conference at the University of Sydney, Encountering the Anthropocene: The Role of Environmental Humanities and Social Sciences. The opening event was a Sydney Ideas Public Forum, Exploring the Anthropo-Scenery: Hope, Justice and Insight, delivered by Professor Romand Cole, Northern Arizona University; Professor Giovanna Di Chiro, Swarthmore College, and Professor David Schlosberg, Observatory Member, University of Sydney.

The conference itself canvassed three major themes: 'Perspectives on the Anthropocene'; 'Caring for Country'; and 'Animals, Plants and Food'.  Keynote speakers included: Observatory member Professor Libby Robin, Australian National University; Dr Jan Zalasiewicz, Univ. of Leicester; Professor Sverker Sorlin, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm; Professor David Christian, Macquarie University; and Professor Deborah Bird Rose, Observatory Member, University of New South Wales. We anticipate publishing two books based on these papers: a Penguin Special on The Anthropocene, edited by Professor Iain McCalman, and The Anthropocene and Indigenous Knowledges, edited by Observatory member Dr Michael Davis.

The conference also saw the launching of three new Environmental Humanities books by our Observatory Members: The Future of Nature, eds Libby Robin, Sverker Sorlin and Paul Warde, Yale University Press; Professor Alison Bashford, Global Population, Columbia University Press; and Dr Jodi Frawley and Professor Iain McCalman, eds, Rethinking Invasion Ecologies from the Environmental Humanities, based on our previous Observatory conference and published by Routledge/Earthspan in their new Environmental Humanities Series.

The conference also enabled us to hold an Australia-Pacific Strategic Policy Meeting of Observatory Members on 25th Feb. attended by fifteen members from around Australia and the Pacific; and a two-day workshop held by three Observatory Members: Professor Libby Robin, Australian National University, Dr Kirsten Wehner, Senior Curator, National Museum of Australia, and Dr Jennifer Newell, Senior Curator, Pacific, American Museum of National History, New York. This workshop was held to refine and finalize contributions for a book arising out of our previous collaborative conference at the American Museum of Natural History in October. It will appear in Oct-Nov. 2014, under the editorship of Robin, Wehner and Newell, as Curating Cultures: Museums, Communities and Climate Change, in the Routledge/Earthspan Environmental Humanities Series.

The Australia-Pacific Observatory of CHCI’s Humanities for the Environment (HfE) collaboration is led by Iain McCalman, Director of the Sydney Environment Institute at the University of Sydney.  (For an overview of the HfE project’s structure and aims, please click here.)