A semester-long forum of
artists, activists and academics on
“Making Sense of the Anthropocene”

All events, except where noted, are open to the public and held on the University of San Francisco campus

Up next…

Making Sense of the Anthropocene through ART:
An exhibition of student work

Date: November 28, Monday
Exhibition hours: 3:30-6:30pm
Location: Getty Study, Center for Science and Innovation, University of San Francisco


Continue below for full program, including past events

Navigating the Anthropocene:
Art and Artist as Guides
through a Challenging Epoch

September 19, Monday, 6:00-7:30pm
Berman Room, Fromm Hall, University of San Francisco
Click here for event flyer

Aaron Czerny is a trans-disciplinary artist engaged in examining the contradictions between wildness and domestication and the line between the spiritual and tangible worlds. His current work focuses on themes of communication, migration and translation to interpret and transgress boundaries in the Anthropocene.

Living in the Ruins:
Strategies for Building Autonomy in the Anthropocene

October 2, Sunday, 5-7pm
Berman Room, Fromm Hall, University of San Francisco
Click here for event flyer

Stephanie Wakefield, Glenn Dyer and Clark Fitzgerald are co-founders of Woodbine NYC, an experimental hub in Ridgewood, Queens for developing the skills, practices, and tools for building autonomy in the Anthropocene

Amulets for the Anthropocene:
Practices for Living in and as Change

October 9, Sunday, 1-4pm
Japanese Tea Garden, Golden Gate Park

Elizabeth Ellsworth and Jamie Kruse are artists and designers who pursue through their work “our most urgent and meaningful task as artists and humans: to invent and enact practices capable of acknowledging and living in responsive relationship to forces of change that make the world.” They are co-founders of smudge studio and of Friends of the Pleistocene, a blog dedicated to exploring sites and moments where the human and the geologic converge.

Note: This interactive workshop is now full. If you would like to add your name to a waitlist please  complete this form.

From the Dust of This World:
The Dystopian Imaginary and the Anthropocene

October 31, Monday, 11:45am-12:45pm
Lone Mountain 345, University of San Francisco
Click here for event flyer

Kristin Miller is a Sociology Ph.D. student at UC Santa Cruz, with a background in journalism and digital media, and an MA in Media, Culture, and Communication from NYU. She studies cities, environmentalism, and technology, and has developed research interests in science-fiction literature and film, and the aesthetics of the Anthropocene. She is currently working on a multi-media project on the role of Silicon Valley in reshaping the Bay Area. Kristin is the winner of the 2014 Rachel Tanur Memorial Prize for Visual Sociology, and is a contributor to and Web Editor for the Critical Sustainabilities project at UCSC. Her work has been published in Boom: A Journal of California, Slate, and Gizmodo, among others.

The Bureau of Linguistical Reality:
Creating Language for the Anthropocene
through Public Participatory Artwork

November 7, Monday, 5:30-7pm
Berman Room, Fromm Hall, University of San Francisco

Alicia Escott and Heidi Quante are artists and co-founders of the Bureau of Linguistical Reality, a public participatory artwork focused on creating new language as an innovative way to better understand our rapidly changing world due to manmade climate change and other Anthropocenic events.

The Unmonumental and Indeterminate:
The New Commons of the Anthropocene

November 14, Monday, 5:30-7pm
Maraschi Room, Fromm Hall, University of San Francisco
Click here for event flyer

Kris Timken and Cynthia Hooper are multimedia artists whose poetic visual and auditory narratives, informed by research into the landscapes and systems represented, aim to dissolve pre-Anthropocene divisions between humans and nature. Hooper’s video series “Anthropogenic Aquascapes” is featured in Timken’s book The New Explorers: Making Meaning in the 21st Century American Landscape profiling the encounters with landscapes of twelve contemporary female artist-adventurers.

Black Haunts in the Anthropocene

November 21, Monday, 5:30-7pm
Berman Room, Fromm Hall, University of San Francisco
(This Davies Forum event is co-sponsored by Gleeson Library)
Click here for event flyer

Marisa Parham is Director of the Five College Digital Humanities Program and Professor of English (with affiliations in the departments of Black Studies & Film and Media Studies) at Amherst College. Her “Black Haunts in the Anthropocene” digital essay, motivated by a sense that our contemporary consciousness of the anthropocene is in itself a media effect, explores how contemporary cultural, political, and scientific notions of the ‘anthropocene’ cohere with matters of temporality in recent black literature and culture.

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“Making Sense of the Anthropocene” is a semester-long forum of lectures, presentations and workshops. Events are open to the public. Complete details are available on the Program page.

The University of San Francisco’s Davies Forum is an endowed program established by Louise M. Davies “to enhance the University’s efforts to produce future leaders dedicated to public service and committed to ethical leadership.” The forum is accompanied by an honors seminar for students at the University of San Francisco. The forum speakers, known Davies Fellows, in addition to offering a public talk or workshop will also engage with the Davies Scholars as part of the student seminar.

What is the Anthropocene and why do we need to make sense of it?

The Anthropocene is a term that describes a proposed new geological epoch defined by observable planetary changes triggered by human activity. That humans are aware of themselves as a geological force raises profound ontological, phenomenological, existential and even theological questions about our species, our planet, and our conjoined future. The Anthropocene destabilizes the stories we tell about our past, present and future.

Across a range of disciplines, academics are grappling with what the Anthropocene means. But as a society’s storytellers, might it be artists who are ideally positioned to help us make sense of the Anthropocene? More pragmatically, might artists offer a unique vision that can give shape to a new set of perspectives, skills, and practices for living in the Anthropocene?

The “Making Sense of the Anthropocene” forum is intended to explore these questions. Speakers will demonstrate how artists, often informed by their own academic perspectives, their activism, and other experiences, are making sense of the Anthropocene.

For more background please see the syllabus for the honors seminar.

Panel 2