UCL Anthropocene


Seminar Series

Our seminars bring together speakers from across disciplines and around the world to discuss issues relevant to the Anthropocene.

For upcoming seminars, please visit our Events page. Past online seminars can be viewed on our Resources page.

earth creation carving

In the humanities and social sciences, the idea of the Anthropocene has become a powerful, if controversial, tool opening up different ways of thinking about humans, their environments, resource extraction, relations with non-human life, form of violence, the global, and the shape of the past. Our seminar accordingly explores the issues and possibilities raised for historians by ‘the Anthropocene’. The specific question of the Anthropocene’s arguable stratigraphic markers is not our primary focus, rather we will contribute to larger conversations by giving a thicker and more nuanced history to an idea often thinly-situated in politicised readings of modernity. Accounts of the Anthropocene need to address the ‘great acceleration’ of biochemical change arising from European colonialism, industrialisation and the fossil fuel era, but must be equally concerned with the deep-rooted histories of these processes, their institutions, and their supporting ideologies, from the earliest polities to the present.


open book

‘Writers of the Anthropocene’ looks at the Anthropocene through the lens of different literary genres across ‘cli-fi’, non-fictional prose, poetry, science writing, literary fiction and more.  

Hosted jointly with the Institute of Advanced Studies, the series is co-convened by Professor Florian Mussgnug (SELCS) and Professor John Sabapathy (History), with colleagues across the Social and Historical Sciences and Arts and Humanities in conversation with writers about what insights particular genres enable, and how they transgress and develop new approaches to discussing the Anthropocene.  


The Cultural Ecology seminar programme unites activist-academics working across the arts to interrogate the following question: ‘How might cultural researchers galvanise more urgent and effective responses to the climate crisis to remedy the severe inadequacy of the actions currently being set into motion by governments and corporations?’.

The series of eight weekly events featured researchers who collectively represent the scope of the arts, including: art history, fine art, curating, architecture, dance, music, literature, poetry, film and photography. 

Image caption: Crochet Coral Reef by Christine Wertheim and Margaret Wertheim and the Institute For Figuring (2009). Photo © IFF by Alyssa Gorelick.