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episode

Episode 86: Ecosystems and the Cultural Imaginary — with Derek Woods

November 04, 2020

Am Johal is joined by Derek Woods, an assistant professor of Media Studies at the University of British Columbia. They discuss Derek’s intersecting expertise in media studies and ecotechnology, examining what he deems the three defining characteristics of ecotechnology: artificial ecosystems, media archaeology, and the cultural imaginary through science fiction. They also problematize the term ‘Anthropocene,’ which proposes a new geological epoch marked by the significant impact humans have had on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including climate change. Derek takes issue with the idea as it universalizes the human species, ignoring how colonialism and capitalism drove the transformation of the earth system. 

Find writing by Derek Woods here.

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Derek Woods

I write about ecology, technology, and modern narrative in relation to the history of science. My book in progress is about the distinction between harmful and "symbiotic" technologies and the influence of cybernetics on ecology and Earth system science. I show that the terrarium and terraforming are topoi across literature, science, and film that play a dynamic role in the construction of ecological consciousness and visions of what green technology might become. I'm also working on a book about the mediation and aesthetics of scales too big or too small for our senses to perceive. I'm currently assistant professor of media studies in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia.


Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal. We talk environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community-building and urban issues with featured guests. Hosted on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, this podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement as a part of our Knowledge Democracy Project @ 312 Main — encouraging the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.

Below the Radar is a weekly podcast hosted by Am Johal. We talk environmental and social justice, arts, culture, community-building and urban issues with featured guests. Hosted on the territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples, this podcast is produced by SFU’s Vancity Office of Community Engagement as a part of our Knowledge Democracy Project @ 312 Main — encouraging the meaningful exchange of ideas and information across communities.