Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street
Derek Woods: The Politics of the Earth System
Free, no registration required.
When: Thu, Feb. 27 | 7 p.m.
Where: Djavad Mowafaghian World Art Centre, SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 W. Hastings St., Vancouver
Additional Info: Co-presented by SFU's Vancity Office of Community Engagement, SFU's Institute for the Humanities and SFU School for the Contemporary Arts.
On February 27, join Derek Woods for a talk on "The Politics of the Earth System".
Between the 1990s and the present, a new field gained institutional legitimacy in the natural sciences. "Earth system science" is an effort to synthesize a wide range of disciplines and concepts, from cybernetics to atmospheric chemistry, in order to address "the functioning of the Earth system as a whole." In his talk, Woods will analyze this field from the perspective of science and technology studies and critical theory, contributing to Vancouver Institute for Social Research's interest in "the crisis of culture and imagination during the Long Emergency of global warming." As a new field, Earth system science raises questions tied to computer simulation and the conceptual moves scientists make in response to the urgency of climate change. These questions do link to the well-known Anthropocene concept, but they need closer attention to the Earth system as object of study than Anthropocene theories offer so far. One starting point is to look at how the field distinguishes itself from other sciences through a non-reductionist systems-theoretical approach with roots in Gaia theory. This approach has entangled upsides and shortcomings. They have become impossible to ignore because they co-exist in a discourse that is becoming a "grand narrative" with the ability to explain the relation between nature and society in the climate change era.
Speaker: Derek Woods
Derek Woods is a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College. He writes about ecology, technology, and modern narrative in relation to the history of science. His first book project is entitled Ecotechnics: Terraria, Terraforming, and the Politics of the Earth System. The book is about the distinction between harmful and "symbiotic" technologies and the influence of cybernetics on ecological scienes. He shows that the terrarium and terraforming are topoi across literature, science, and film that play a dynamic role in the construction of ecological consciousness and the political aspirations of green technology. He is also working on a book about the mediation and aesthetics of scales too big or too small for our senses to perceive. He starts as assistant professor of media studies at the University of British Columbia in summer 2020.
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