Plattform: Anna L. Tsing

We are excited to invite you to a lecture by Professor Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing.

For this Plattform event, Tsing will present thoughts and examples from the upcoming publication Field Guide to the Patchy Anthropocene which will launch on May 7th.

Human action has transformed our planet and ushered in a new geological epoch—the Anthropocene. The effects are global in scope but take shape within distinct social and ecological “patches,” discontinuous regions within which the key actors may not be human, but the plants, animals, fungi, viruses, plastics, and chemicals creating our new world. Field Guide to the Patchy Anthropocene takes stock of our current planetary crisis, leading readers through a series of sites, thought experiments, and genre-stretching descriptive practices to nurture a revitalized natural history.

Field guides teach us how to notice, name, and so better appreciate more-than-human worlds. They hone our powers of observation and teach us to see the world anew. Field-based observations and place-based knowledge cultivation—getting up close and personal with patchy dynamics—are vital to truly grapple with the ecological challenges and the historical conjunctures that are bringing us to multiple catastrophic tipping points. How has commercial agriculture runoff given rise to comb jellies in the Black Sea? What role did the Atlantic slave trade play in the worldwide spread of virus-carrying mosquitoes? How did the green revolution transform the brown planthopper into a superpredator in Philippine rice fields? Questions like these open up new ways of understanding and ways of living through the epoch that human activity has ushered in.

This Field Guide shifts attention away from knowledge extractive practices of globalization to encourage skilled observers of many stripes to pursue their commitments to place, social justice, and multispecies community. It is through attention to the beings, places, ecologies, and histories of the Anthropocene that we can reignite curiosity, wonder, and care for our damaged planet.

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is a professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Niels Bohr Professor in the Department of Culture and Society at Aarhus University in Denmark. She is the author of In the Realm of the Diamond Queen (1993), Friction (2005) and The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015). Tsing received her B.A. from Yale University and completed her master’s and Ph.D. at Stanford University. She has contributed and written several articles and books on a broad range of anthropological subjects and in 2010, she received a Guggenheim Fellowship. In 2013, Tsing won a Niels Bohr Professorship at Aarhus University in Denmark for her contribution to interdisciplinary work in the fields of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts. She is currently developing a transdisciplinary program for exploring the Anthropocene. Tsing is director of the AURA project at Aarhus University.

The publication is written together with:

Jennifer Deger is Professor of Digital Humanities and Co-Director of the Centre for Creative Futures at Charles Darwin University, Australia.

Alder Keleman Saxena is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and Program in Sustainable Communities at Northern Arizona University.

Feifei Zhou is Adjunct Assistant Professor in Architecture at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.

Together they are coeditors of Stanford’s digital publication Feral Atlas: The More-than Human Anthropocene (2020).

Plattform is Bergen Kunsthall’s series of lectures and debates with artists and prominent thinkers.

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14:10 Introduction
14:15 Lecture
15:00 Q&A
15:15 Finish