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Anticipation and Imagination, Inter- and Transdisciplinarity for Sustainability Transformations
Deep Time Walk: From Theia to the Anthropocene
Chair(s): Maria Elisabeth Karssenberg (University of Glasgow, United Kingdom)
Presenter(s): Emma Hissink Muller (Radboud University), Dennis Hamer (Wageningen University), Boris van Meurs (Radboud University), Maria Elisabeth Karssenberg (University of Glasgow)
We present our interactive walk through 4.6 billion years of Earth history: a journey from Earth’s wild beginnings to the Anthropocene, originally developed by ecologist Stephan Harding and playwright Peter Oswald. Each meter represents one million years, and by the time you reach the present your perception of Earth’s history and humanity’s place in it will have changed forever.
The aims of this innovative session are to imagine the vastness of deep time and to encounter the planet as more than a mere stage upon which humans perform their play. We contribute to these aims by having an interdisciplinary dialogue with the participants whilst (literally) walking through the key moments of Earth’s history. In order to deal with present-day challenges of sustainable transformations, one has to transgress disciplinary and imaginative boundaries. One way of finding new paths forward is to retell our story not starting with ourselves, but with the Earth.
We propose four parallel walks, each guided by an ARCHAIC (Anthropocene Research Collective for Human-Animal and Interspecies Collaborations) member. The walks are divided into three ‘chapters’: (1) Oxygen, (2) Organisms, and (3) The Recognisable World. Each ‘chapter’ consists of a narrative based on key moments in Earth history, and we will open up the session for questions like: what is the relevance of Earth history and Deep Time for your own field of research? Do you think the perspective of the Earth naturalizes social or cultural studies or that current understandings of the Earth need a social perspective? What role do humans play within this awfully complex Earth System? Should we understand humans as organisms or political or technological beings, which frames do you find important, what are its pros and cons? And, perhaps the most important question, what will happen during our next step into the future?