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  • Kislak Center, Van Pelt Library 3420 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA, 19104 United States (map)

The global threat of anthropogenic environmental change demands collaborative solutions across distant disciplines. In recent decades, concepts like “Anthropocene” and “slow violence” have emerged in response to the temporal aspects of global ecological concerns. While we are quick to react to local or individual catastrophes, it is more difficult to respond meaningfully to global changes that occur at a slower pace. Moreover, response times for localized environmental issues vary based on the community threatened, reflecting global inequities. We struggle against the timescale of anthropogenic environmental change and its impact on future generations despite our awareness of its real physical, cultural, political, economic and psychological effects. Different academic disciplines provide us with distinct tools with which to respond to these crises. For example, atmospheric sciences help us understand the present day, while geology and paleoclimatology put it into perspective. Civil engineering helps us adapt, art opens up creative forms of response, and experimental psychology and historical analysis interrogate these reactions. Inspired by these diverse approaches to temporality, this conference will be a space for thinking about human reaction time to ecological catastrophe.

Reinvigorating traditional conference structures, Timescales will combine distant trans-disciplinary conversations in a panel format with site-based events and engagements with art and activism. Planned eco-tours will frame Philadelphia’s post-industrial landscape as actant rather than backdrop; installations and film screenings, EcoTime, will foreground sites of environmental violence, and spur dialogue on the ethics of ecological reaction. Overall, Timescales is designed to appeal to a broad audience in the academy, Philadelphia’s vibrant art and activist communities, and the general public.

See our program and full schedule here. 

Confirmed participants include:

  • Dagomar Degroot (Assistant Professor of Environmental History, Georgetown University)

  • Wai Chee Dimock (William Lampson Professor of English and American Studies, Yale University)

  • David Evans (Professor of Geology & Geophysics, Yale University)

  • Ömür Harmanşah (Associate Professor of Art and Art History, University of Illinois at Chicago)

  • Dale Jamieson (Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy, New York University).

Earlier Event: October 16
WetLand Open House