Friday, August 22, 2014


Obermann Center illustration

Obermann Afternoons, the Obermann Center's informal speakers series, launches again this fall. “Anthropocene 101" leads the way on September 17 from 4:00 to 5:30 pm, as Barbara Eckstein (English, CLAS), Bradley Cramer (Earth & Environmental Sciences, CLAS), and Tyler Priest (History, CLAS) give a preview of their spring Humanities Symposium, Energy Cultures in the Age of the Anthropocene.

They will help to define the increasingly popular concept that we are in a new geologic age, the Anthropocene, an age that began with the Industrial Revolution of the 18th century. The concept of the Anthropocene forces us to recalibrate the record of human and environmental history. For scholars in arts and humanities, the Anthropocene would mark the first periodization that asks them to take their cues from earth systems and not human activity separate from those systems. The arc of the Anthropocene thus changes the meaning of the arc of the other periodizations. 

This symposium thus will challenge scholars, students, and citizens to reconsider their understanding of the past and visions of the future.  Energy Cultures in the Age of the Anthropocene will explore the illusory boundary between what is “natural” and “man-made,” between the multiple ways humans experience and demarcate time, and between the unequal distribution of social impacts caused by human-transformed and fossil-fueled environments around the world.  The symposium will challenge people to rethink the ideas, values, and aesthetics that shape the way we fuel our lives and transform our environments.

Other Obermann Afternoons will highlight the work of recent and current Obermann Scholars, and will include an examination of how rankings effect higher education and what social entrepreneurship and higher education can learn from each other.  s

2014-2015 Obermann Afternoons

Note that all talks are from 4:00 to 5:30pm and occur in the Obermann Center Library.

  • Oct 22, 2014 - Designing the Cognitive Future: Juan Pablo Hourcade
  • Nov 12, 2014 - Civic Science: John Spencer
  • Feb 18, 2015 - Fear of Falling: Michael Sauder
  • Mar 11, 2015 - Medical Narratives: Pat Dolan & the Medical Narrative Working Group
  • Apr 08, 2015 - Lessons from Las Vegas: Dave Gould & the Faculty Institute