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Humanities Institute

Sensing Disaster and Transformation: Modeling The Dramas of Italian Forest Futures

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Sensing Disaster and Transformation: Modeling The Dramas of Italian Forest Futures
November 20, 2017 4:00 pm
November 20, 2017 6:00 pm
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Time: 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Location: Social Sciences & Humanities 2203

Public Lecture, Department of Anthropology Colloquium
Andrew Mathews, Associate Professor of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz
Abstract: The Anthropocene asks us to confront futures that exceed the capacities of modernist prediction. Earth system and ecological models struggle to contain indeterminacy, disasters, and the monstrous transformations that can emerge from the more than human relations of humans and non-humans. In Italian forests, plant pathogens can destroy key species or be tamed by diseases and new associates of their own; agricultural abandonment can produce fragile and fire prone landscapes, or can invite practices of care which stabilize mountain forests. This talk compares the practices of ecological modelers who probe indeterminate futures, with my own ethnohistory of landscapes. Natural history and modeling press us to notice how causal stories are called into being through precise forms of attention that propel stories across scales. Finally, I wonder what kinds of storytelling practices and genres we can use for recounting families of stories, and point to the picaresque and the murder mystery, as possible genres for telling stories of multiple unstable futures.

This event is sponsored by STS, Institute for Social Sciences

For more information please contact: Priscilla Cordova, pacordova@ucdavis.edu

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