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World History Association & UWM Asian Studies Lecture


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Please join us for the World History Association & UWM Asian Studies Distinguished Lecture – The “Human” in History and Biology: Questions of Scale, Questions of Value.

What does it mean to be human in an epoch of accelerating climate change, the Age of the Anthropocene? Some theorists have argued that if humanity has become a geological agent shaping earth systems, “human history” and “natural history” should meld.

Award-winning environmental and intellectual historian Julia Adeney Thomas will examine this claim, looking at different definitions of “the human” put forward by paleobiology, microbiology, and biochemistry, in order to ask how each might shape histories concerned with the Anthropocene. Drawing on examples from Japan’s experience with toxic waste at Minamata and the scientific studies unwittingly mirroring the political tensions between Korea, China, and Japan, she takes into account history’s political function and the relationship between history and the sciences in order to consider what it means to be human as our aggregate impact on the planet escalates.

Library 4th Floor Conference Center.