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Ecotopian Toolkit for Anthropocene Challenges

Prompted in part by the 500th anniversary of Thomas More’s Utopia, we explore a longer history of the anthropocene to help represent–and respond to–our contemporary moment. At the outset of European imperial expansion across the globe, English humanist Thomas More dashed off an enduring work of speculative fiction, composed in two short parts: Utopia. The first part stages conversations between European intellectuals about the profound changes they were witnessing: the enclosure of commons, regimes of mineral extraction, shifting flows of capital, uneven resource access, and the criminalization of poverty among them. More’s second book voyages out to the island utopia: a republican community purportedly in possession of educational tools for a better life.

Utopia informs the conference’s organization: both its scholarly conversations and its future-looking tools for citizens. 

Over three days of meetings, we will consider how integrated knowledge production can address environmental challenges and what tools scholars and other professional in informal STEAM education might create—not only to maintain but to expand the potential for species-being in the Anthropocene, the age of the human. Scholarly presentations will intersect with live performance; longer invited presentations are punctuated by shorter interventions.  Our gathering hybridizes a scholarly conference with an inventors’ lab, a design workshop, and an experimental performance space. Together, we will create a Toolkit for the Anthropocene.

For a more information, please visit our official conference site