Visual Cultures of the Anthropocene

Course Description: 

This course examines the impact of the Anthropocene, considered both as a new geological epoch marked by human interventions in the Earth System and as a theoretical tool for understanding how we experience and represent the natural world, through analysis of current debates around ecological crisis and in light of the evolving role of artists in visualizing planetary issues. Students will examine a wide range of contemporary art practices, in addition to insights from visual culture, performance arts and literature, addressing environmental concerns from the consequences of climate change to engagements with bio-diversity and sustainable lifestyles. Along with lectures and seminar discussions, this environmental humanities course will involve encounters with multiple art forms and contemporary cultural sources, as well as offer an opportunity to develop critical skills and broaden the response to ecological questions.

Learning Outcomes: 

Knowledge of key issues within current thinking about the Anthropocene; A critical grasp of the influence of arts and culture on environmental discourse; Understanding of the extent to which awareness of ecological crisis is changing culture and society; Using environmental theories in an inter-disciplinary context; Working collaboratively to conceive and execute a research project.


Written assignment (50%); team project (30%); class participation (20%).