The WHA is cosponsor of the World History Association & UW–Milwaukee Asian Studies Distinguished Lecture, “The ‘Human’ in History and Biology: Questions of Scale, Questions of Value,” to be delivered by Julia Adeney Thomas, associate professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, at 19:00 on Thursday, 5 April 2019, in the Golda Meir Library.
The question the lecture will address is:
What does it mean to be human in an epoch of accelerating climate change, the Age of the Anthropocene? Some theorists have argued that if humanity has become a geological agent shaping earth systems, “human history” and “natural history” should meld. Award-winning environmental and intellectual historian Julia Adeney Thomas will examine this claim, looking at different definitions of “the human” put forward by paleobiology, microbiology, and biochemistry, in order to ask how each might shape histories concerned with the Anthropocene. Drawing on examples from Japan’s experience with toxic waste at Minamata and the scientific studies unwittingly mirroring the political tensions between Korea, China, and Japan, she takes into account history’s political function and the relationship between history and the sciences in order to consider what it means to be human as our aggregate impact on the planet escalates.
A reception with light refreshments will follow the lecture and Q&A. The event is free and open to the public.