Published 03 August 2018
Princeton professor Rob Nixon investigates why growing numbers of environmental activists are risking their freedom and lives to protect the environment.
Environmental martyrs put their bodies and lives on the line, risking imprisonment, violence or burial in a shallow grave in the dead of night. Some activists remain anonymous, while others gain posthumous fame and power, their deaths becoming a rallying call for others to join the cause.
Rob Nixon, Professor in Humanities and Environment at Princeton University and author of the award-winning Slow Violence and the Environmentalism of the Poor, explores the surge in environmental martyrdom around the world over timber, water, land and mineral rights. Martyrdom is direct action in extremis, he says. But why are so many people sacrificing their lives? And what is the relationship between the fallen martyr and the felled tree?
About the Series
From climate change and the sixth mass extinction event, to the pronouncement of a new geological epoch—the ‘Anthropocene,’ the age of humanity—we are increasingly being told that our contemporary period is one of incredible environmental change, and at the same time that human activity is playing an increasingly significant role in shaping the earth and its future possibilities.
In addition to being important scientific and technical challenges, these environmental problems are also profoundly and inescapably social: they are about how we organise our societies and our cities, how we approach questions of ethics and justice, how we find meaning and value in the world. In other words, they concern the deepest dimensions of our human nature, and in so doing perhaps call out for a reconsideration of what it might mean to be human in times like these.
Taking up these important themes, this lecture series will offer a series of talks by leading international scholars in the Environmental Humanities. This emerging, interdisciplinary, field of scholarship draws on the insights of history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and related disciplines to explore the important roles that the humanities might play in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our day.
The inaugural, 2018, series includes nine esteemed international and domestic speakers. There is one lecture scheduled each month from February through to October. Further information on each of these speakers and their lecture topics is provided below.
This Lecture Series is jointly funded and coordinated by the Australian Museum, the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, and the University of Sydney. The organising committee for the series is comprised of Thom van Dooren and Astrida Neimanis (Sydney), Emily O’Gorman (Macquarie), Judy Motion (UNSW), and Juan Francisco Salazar (Western Sydney).
6.00 pm: Welcome drink & refreshments.
6.30 pm: Talk and Q&A
ADVANCE BOOKINGS ESSENTIAL
Cash-only tickets available at the door, subject to availability.