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Ethics, Agency, and Aesthetics in the Anthropocene: A Symposium

2015 April 17
by Shared by Steve Rust

If you happen to be in the California Bay Area today…

Ethics, Agency, and Aesthetics in the Anthropocene: A Symposium

Conference/Symposium | April 17 | 10 a.m.-6:15 p.m. | 315 Wheeler Hall


Timothy Morton, Rita Shea Guffey Chair in English, Rice University; Joan Roughgarden, Professor of Biology, Emerita; Adjunct Professor, Stanford Univeristy; University of Hawai`i

Department of English, Townsend Center for the Humanities, James Joyce Working Group, Materiality Working Group, Stanford’s Environmental Humanities Project, Stanford’s Program in Modern Thought and Language


Even as the concept of the Anthropocene has gained increasing acceptance, expanding the scales of human agency by naming humans a geologic force implicated in global climate change and a looming sixth mass-extinction, the new critical fields of Posthumanism, New Materialism, and Object-Oriented Ontology have aimed to reconfigure “agency” as a property belonging not only to humans, but also to nonhuman animals and to inorganic objects. How can aesthetics represent these new forms of agency? What are the ethical implications of these new environmental aesthetics?

In a day-long series of featured addresses and panel discussions on ecological ethics and aesthetics across the human/nonhuman divide, this symposium explores how we might construct an ethics proper to this strange time in which humans are considered both the primary force driving ecological destruction and merely one kind of agent among a universe of nonhuman actors. How might we live ethically with animals and objects, and what ethical demands do they, as agents, place on us?

Featured speakers include Timothy Morton, Rice University; and Joan Roughgarden, Stanford University, and Hawai’i Institute of Marine Biology (HIMB), University of Hawai’i.

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