3-Day Workshop: Nature and the Social Order since the 1970s

22-24 May 2023

The climate crisis is as much a political and conceptual crisis as a material one. Especially since the 1970s, a host of movements, schools of thought, and other trends have emerged which place ideas of nature and environment at their core. Some propose that extinction is imminent and that society must be fundamentally re-ordered to survive. Others propose an incrementalist approach which seeks to leverage the tools of capitalism to protect the climate and environment. Still others look for answers in the fabric of Western thought itself, insisting that the roots of the climate crisis lie in binary distinctions between nature and culture, between the human and the nonhuman world. Indeed, effective governance of the natural world has been integral to legitimising political regimes globally and instrumental in the creation of new global governance structures, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The idea of what nature is and is not lies at the heart of myriad discourses and debates, in politics, academia, and in wider culture.

Although such themes are subject to major interrogation in their respective fields, attempts at historicising nature across contexts are scarce. In partnership with Sciences Po, we are therefore organising a three-day workshop on Nature and the Social Order since the 1970s. We will invite world-leading scholars across disciplines working in this area, and through multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary collaboration, will bolster this nascent field of scholarship, helping to push the environmental humanities to the forefront of the international research agenda.

Monday 22 May 2023 (5th Week, Trinity Term)

This series features in the following public collections: