In this seminar I will consider what it means to write history in the midst of escalating and alarming environmental change. ‘The Anthropocene’ is a term for a new era of Earth history in which humans have become a geophysical force, and it is an idea that has generated much stimulating debate in the humanities over the last decade. Does the climate crisis affect our views of ‘the future of history’? How is it changing the way we interrogate the past? And is it possible to write a history of humans as a species? I am stimulated by Ian Hesketh’s analysis (2014) of the moral and aesthetic character of Big History and ‘the evolutionary epic’, and I hope to reflect also on the special challenge historians face in living with deep time in Australia.
Tom Griffiths AO is the W K Hancock Professor of History in the Research School of Social Sciences at the Australian National University, Chair of the Editorial Board of the Australian Dictionary of Biography and Director of the Centre for Environmental History at ANU. In 2016 he was a Rachel Carson Fellow at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. He is the author of Hunters and Collectors: The Antiquarian Imagination in Australia (1996), Forests of Ash: An Environmental History (2001) and Slicing the Silence: Voyaging to Antarctica (2007). His most recent book is The Art of Time Travel: Historians and their Craft (Black Inc., 2016).
4.00pm Thursday 1 June 2017
Seminar Room, Level 4 Forgan Smith Tower
University of Queensland, St Lucia
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