Public lecture: The environmental humanities and global change research: building new relationships for a new Anthropo(s)cene
Public lecture by Noel Castree
In this lecture I explore the relationships between global change research – which is dominated by various geoscience disciplines – and the environmental humanities. Such exploration is timely because several global change researchers are now making positive mention of the ‘people disciplines’ in their writings. However, I show that the current form of engagement between the two multidisciplinary fields are based on an unhelpful combination of ignorance and distance. I examine several published calls in which the relevance of the two fields to each other is mentioned positively. These calls are, however, largely rhetorical and fail to differentiate the roles environmental humanists can usefully play in relation to global change research. To give them substance, global change researchers and many environmental humanists will need to engage in new ways that will alter the working practices of both epistemic communities. I discuss these new ways in the context of a ‘new social contract’ for global change research that several leading geoscientists are now calling for. I will focus on some examples from contemporary geography to illustrate how the people disciplines and geoscience might usefully combine to address global environmental change
Noel Castree is Professor of Geography at the University of Wollongong, Australia. He has long standing interests in how what we call ‘nature’ is represented by a range of knowledge communities, ranging from environmental scientists to news journalists. He is author of Nature (Routledge, 2005) and Making Sense of Nature (Routledge, 2014), and co-editor of Social Nature (2001, Blackwell).