Rethinking history in the anthropocene

11 feb 2021
Van 9:00 - 17:30uur

All are cordially invited to this special meeting of the History of Knowledge Seminar Series @ Utrecht University: 

Date: 11 February 2021

Time: 9:00-17:30 (UTC+1)

Location: Microsoft Teams (NB: Please find the link to the online meeting below this message)


> Prof. Jürgen Renn (MPIWG, Berlin) (10:45-12:15 UTC+1)

> Prof. Deborah Coen (Yale University) (16:00-17:30 UTC+1)

Since the year 2000, the Anthropocene concept has affected debates in almost every academic discipline, both within the humanities and social sciences, and has rapidly developed into an inter- and transdisciplinary object of research. At the same time, it has also undermined some of the distinctions that have long been the basis for these disciplines, especially for history – such as that between “nature” and “culture” and “geological” and human”. Furthermore, while earlier conceptions of human agency, temporality and historical experience – all key to historical research – are being decentered, historians are called upon to create new big narratives linking the past to the future to make sense of our present.

This symposium takes up the Anthropocene as a key challenge for all branches of history and historiography. It is concerned with exploring how the discipline of history should be re-thought in and for the Anthropocene – and, vice versa, whether and if so, how new notions of historical thinking might be invoked to make sense of the Anthropocene.

Two keynotes and several short exploratory talks – both including Q&A – will engage with and address central questions such as ‘Why and how to write history at a time of epochal rupture?’, ‘What does it mean to learn from history on a finite planet?’ and ‘Whose pasts and historical experiences tend to be (de-)emphasized in the Anthropocene concept?’.


9:00-9:05 (UTC+1)

Welcome by Lukas Verburgt (Utrecht University) and Elske de Waal (Utrecht University)


Zoltán Boldizsár Simon (Leiden University)

Is There Such a Thing as Anthropocenic Historical Knowledge?


Boris van Meurs (Radboud University)

The ‘Now’ and the ‘Instant’ in Earth History


Kungzhan Guo (Université de Technologie de Troyes)

Chinese Trace Fossils in the Anthropocene: The Grand Canal of 2,500 Years


Short Break


Keynote #1: Jürgen Renn (MPIWG, Berlin)

The Anthropocene and the History of Science


Lunch Break


Thomas Moynihan (Future of Humanity Institute, Oxford)

Are We Situated Near History’s End or Its Beginning?: How Discovering the Deep Past Unveiled Humanity’s Deep Future


Rachel Hill (Goldsmiths, University of London)

But Which Earth? The History of Earth-Images as Iconography of the Anthropocene


Iva Pesa (University of Groningen)

Beyond Resistance and Resignation: Understanding Environmentalism in Sub-Saharan Africa


Short Break


Raf de Bont (Maastricht University)

Living With Animals: Heini Hediger, History and the Anthropocene


Adham Hafez (New York University)

Of Songs and Fish


Short Break


Keynote #2: Deborah Coen (Yale University)

Scientists and Science Studies in the Anthropocene

Link to the meeting (Microsoft Teams)

Click here to join the meeting

Het KNHG is de grootste organisatie van professionele historici in Nederland. Het biedt een platform aan de ruim 1100 leden en aan de historische gemeenschap als geheel. Wordt lid van het KNHG.
Terug naar de bron: de geschiedenis ontrafeld met nieuwe technologie. Dat is de missie van het Huygens ING, een onderzoeksinstituut op het gebied van geschiedenis en cultuur.