Welcome to the Anthropocene

Welcome to the course site for the Umeå University course “The Anthropocene – A History of the World.”

What is the Anthropocene?
The idea of the Anthropocene – the geological Age of Man – has become widely adopted as a way of describing the entanglement of human activities and the natural world after its popularization by Paul Crutzen in 2000. It is simultaneously a narrative about the relationship between humans and nature, people and the planet, and an argument about how we got there. As such it is a powerful idea that merits deeper engagement. This course critically examines the history of the idea from George Perkins Marsh’s Man and Nature (1864) until today, its adoption in science and popular culture, as well as its key claims about the long-term impact of humanity on the planet, in order to provide a deep understanding of the scientific and cultural background of the concept and its impact on scientific communication and political practice.

How will we work in the course?
This is an online course, running over eleven weeks from October 31, 2016 through January 15, 2017. It combines a series of recorded conversations highlighting different perspectives on the Anthropocene debate with a student-centered pedagogy requiring a high degree of student involvement. We will integrate digital tools such as student blogs, participatory mapping, virtual field trips, and discussion forums in the course, supporting community-building and collaborative project assignments as well as individual assignment. This website serves as the course learning platform. Most student activities will be visible for registered participants only, but the outcomes of two assignments (“Events and Places” and “Anthropocene Artifacts”) will be published here.

Who is offering this course?
The course is offered by Department of Historical, Philosophical, and Religious Studies at Umeå University as a Faculty of Arts Profile Course designed for students in the humanities, social science and environmental science. Associate Professor Finn Arne Jørgensen is the main teacher.

Update June 2021: The site has been archived.