The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg (KTH) on 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

Welcome to The Posthumanities Hub Seminar with Adam Wickberg on Coloniality, Media and the Anthropocene in Early Americas.

The seminar takes place in the seminar room at the Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, KTH (Teknikringen 74 D, Stockholm).

When: 5th June, 10:15 – 12:00

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Abstract:

This talk will address historiography and layers of time based on a decolonial understanding of modernity and its relation to the Anthropocene. The point of departure for my critical discussion of history is the geological evidence for an Anthropocene golden spike proposed by Lewis & Maslin (2015) known as the ”Orbis hypothesis”, as well as the discourse on futurity built into current policy on climate change. The aim is to develop a critical temporality for the Anthropocene, drawing on work by historians on the contemporary crisis of time (Assmann 2013, Hartog 2016) as well as insights from environmental and media history. I argue that the emergence of global political expansionism and extractionist politics with the Spanish Empire in the latter part of the 16th century marked the beginning of an era which is still affecting policy and politics, particularly in relation to climate change. Particularly, I argue that the systematic use of media and information technology for extractionist purposes is integral to what has been understood as modernity (Latour 2017, Haraway 2017, Moore 2015, Mignolo 2015, Sloterdijk 2015). At the same time, the established way of addressing climate change sustains coloniality and projects the cost of carbon intense living a century into the future, as most models end with 2100. The insights of what might then be termed Anthropocene historiography challenges traditional linear conceptions of time by highlighting how the present eco crisis is an effect of past political actions, just as current inability to properly address these issues will come into effect and cause damage in the future.

Bio: 

Adam Wickberg is a Postdoctoral fellow in media history at the Environmental Humanities Lab and a visiting scholar at the Max Planck Institute for History of Science in Berlin (MPWIG I). His current research concerns the Early Modern media history of the Anthropocene, where he traces the global changes of long distance governing of nature brought about by early Spanish colonialism. The project studies the human-nature relationship of Iberian colonial history using the critical aspects of media and anthropogenic altering of natural habitats as a material and discursive practice. The bureaucratic use of paper – documents, files, maps, surveys, orders – as a form of governance of nature over great distances is a focal point of the study and are conceptualized as environing media. Recent publications include Pellucid Paper: Poetry and Bureaucratic Media (Open Humanities Press 2018) and “Plus Ultra: Francisco Hernández and the Mapping of American Natureculture” in Necsus: European Journal of Media Studies (2018:2).