The Death of Nature: Critical Environmental Thought in the Anthropocene

University Liberal Arts: University Lecture Program

Liberal Arts
Undergraduate Course
Degree Students
The Death of Nature
Fall 2022
Taught By: Jay Bernstein and Alice Crary
Section: L

CRN: 14188

Credits: 0

This university lecture focuses on the ongoing destruction of nature from anthropogenic planetary climate change. This catastrophe poses a problem for which traditional ethical theories leave us ill-prepared, and strategies that simply apply these theories (so-called “applied ethics”) have proved unhelpful. A productive engagement needs to start from a willingness to radically rethink the categories that we use to describe this historical moment and the resources we have to respond to it meaningfully. We will talk about how the climate crisis has challenged not only engrained understandings of the relation between nature and culture but also received understandings of moral notions such as justice, responsibility and blame. We will also consider how it brings into question familiar conceptions of political institutions such as markets, property, states. We will attempt this kind of transformative approach to climate crisis by reading widely—and in a fully interdisciplinary manner—in literatures, both academic and popular, taken from the natural sciences, the humanities and critical social theories, including importantly, critical social theories focused on environmental, racial and gender-based justice. Course topics will include the Anthropocene, ecocide, ecofeminism, ecological Marxism, racial capitalism, animal ethics, anthropocentric vs. biocentric environmental ethics, responsibility (i.e., who is responsible for change?), global justice, justice vis-a-vis future generations, questions of mitigation and adaptation and questions about meaningful political action. Students must register for both the lecture and discussion section of this course. [This ULEC is in category 1, Tools for Social Change.]

College: University Liberal Arts (UL)

Department: University Lecture Program (ULIB)

Campus: New York City (GV)

Course Format: Lecture (L)

Modality: In-Person

Max Enrollment: 100

Add/Drop Deadline: September 12, 2022 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: December 18, 2022 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Closed*

* Status information is updated every few minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 9:16am EST 1/27/2023

Meeting Info:
Days: Tuesday
Times: 12:20pm - 1:35pm
Building: Johnson/Kaplan 66 West 12th
Room: 407
Date Range: 8/30/2022 - 12/6/2022