Past Event

Placing the Anthropocene: The Pacific Ocean in Planetary History

April 25, 2019
4:30 PM - 6:00 PM
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International Affairs Building (Room 918), Columbia University, 420 West 118th Street, New York

Event Description: 

In its conventional form, the Anthropocene is a Eurocentric and terracentric concept that needs to be provincialized. What might a history of the Anthropocene look like if we place the Pacific Ocean and its surrounding territories at its center? This keynote presentation will examine each of the major proposed starting points for the Anthropocene and their purported causes from the perspective of the Pacific Ocean and its surrounding territories—from late Pleistocene overkill to the atoll nuclear tests of the twentieth century. East Asia, Australia, and the Americas and Pacific Islands have all played unheralded roles in several historical trends typically associated with European-driven expansion. In any case, we need to give careful attention to regional histories and their potential contribution to decentered global histories before making any firm decisions about the starting point, root causes, and potential meanings of this proposed “human epoch” of planetary history.

Event Speakers:

  • Gregory T. Cushman, Associate Professor of International Environmental History, University of Kansas

  • Moderated by Paul Kreitman, Assistant Professor of Japanese History, Columbia University

Event Information:

No registration required. Please visit the event webpage for more informaiton. Hosted by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute