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Rethinking research topics in the Anthropocene: anthropological collaborations in global environmental change 
Joonas Plaan (Tallinn University)
Craig Ritchie (University of Kent)
Start time:
2 August, 2014 at
Time zone: Europe/Tallinn
Session slots:

Short Abstract:

The Anthropocene has opened up new study topics, making us to rethink human-environmental relations. This panel is about collaborative ethnographical studies in environmental change, reconceptualizing the human condition in the Anthropocene, and deserting the Western idea of nature-culture dualism.

Long Abstract:

This panel calls for papers about collaborative works on human-environmental interactions. There is a growing recognition that within the environmental context, the human imprint is playing a more significant role than ever before - the environment is the result of human 'environing' activities (Sörlin and Warde 2009), which has moved the humankind into a new human-made epoch, the Anthropocene.


The 'environmental turn' in the humanities and social sciences, emphasize the environment as an important part of their academic knowledge (Cronon 1996; Descola and Pálsson 1996; Biersack and Greenberg 2008). Despite the fact that, in many disciplines, the notion of the dualism between nature and society remains central in their thoughts. Furthermore, academic hierarchies and inequalities and the internal limits and intellectual tipping points of Western thought tend to scrutinize collaborations between different disciplines. Thus, a new dynamic of integrated approaches may be the answer to the challenges the humanities faces in the Anthropocene epoch.


Pálsson et al. (2012) are calling for the humanities and social sciences to fundamentally rethink human-environment relations in the Anthropocene age. This will necessitate significant cross-disciplinary collaborations escaping the nature/society dualism. "It is of the utmost importance that we identify the ideas and practices that nurture both our species, our societies, and the planet" (Pálsson et al. 2012). Thus, this panel explores efforts made to integrate anthropology and other social sciences into trans-disciplinary environmental change studies and calls for innovative papers on collaborative studies on the Anthropocene.

Accepted papers:

Session 1