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ARTH 643 Art and Globalization: Confronting the Anthropocene -Theory, Activism, Art

  • Mondays, 11 am-2 pm
  • EV 3.760
  • Instructor: Dr. Johanne Sloan

The term “anthropocene” is commonly used to describe the current state of global ecological crisis. This course will begin with critical perspectives on the very term “anthropocene” – from authors such as T.J. Demos, who prefers “petro-capitalist anthropocene,” to Macarena Gomez-Barris, who insists on a decolonizing critique of the anthropocene, to Donna Haraway, who introduces the alternate concept of the “chthulucene.” We will look at a range of writings and contemporary art practices that are politicized and activist, with the overt goal of environmental justice. At the same time (inspired by Haraway), we will discuss the importance of forging imaginative, embodied, aesthetically-rich relations with nature. The course will therefore concern itself not only with contemporary imagery, but also with historical instances of art and visual culture (within the Western tradition and across many other cultural contexts) – that can be regarded as an archive of valuable knowledge about the natural world, and as evidence of how nature is entwined with culture, history, and human consciousness.

Bohemian illuminated manuscript, c. 1405. detail. Metropolitan Museum of Art
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