Can the Nonhuman Speak?
Breaking the Chain of Being in the Anthropocene
a lecture by Joyce E. Chaplin
A syllogism: 1. The environmental crises that go under the name of the Anthropocene represent the most important problems of our generation. 2. As characteristically careful analysts of the human condition, historians of ideas are excellently qualified to address those problems. 3. Therefore historians of ideas should take up the task, however much contemplation of the Anthropocene might challenge assumptions that humans have a distinctive status as idea-generating beings.
Joyce E. Chaplin (BA, Northwestern; MA, PhD, Johns Hopkins) is the James Duncan Phillips Professor of Early American History at Harvard University and director of Harvard’s American Studies program. A specialist in environmental history and the history of science, she is the author of An Anxious Pursuit: Agricultural Innovation and Modernity in the Lower South, 1730–1815 (1993), Subject Matter: Technology, the Body, and Science on the Anglo-American Frontier, 1500-1676 (2001), The First Scientific American: Benjamin Franklin and the Pursuit of Genius (2006), Round about the Earth: Circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit (2012), and (with Alison Bashford) The New Worlds of Thomas Robert Malthus: Rereading the Principle of Population (2016). She is also the editor of Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography: A Norton Critical Edition (2012) and (with Darrin McMahon) of Genealogies of Genius (2015).
Friday, May 6, 2016 5 pm
Fisher-Bennett Hall 401, University of Pennsylvania
Reception to follow