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27522 : Experimental Futures: Re-figurations of Human/Environment Relationships

Description: The naming of the current era after the human-Anthropocene-is widely criticized. Scholars such as Donna Haraway bemoan the emphasis on the human being and its control over earthly matters at a moment when non-human entanglements with the world are simultaneously overlooked. Other thinkers point out that the planetary changes of the Anthropocene have occurred mainly due to capitalism and industrialization. In the course of these debates, the role of the human and the understanding of the human as part of the Earth's ecosystem is discussed again and again. Especially in the arts and design, new figurations of the human and a future outside anthropocentrism are being developed. This course follows fundamental questions around the emergence of this discourse: Which tropes, materials, and concepts do we collectively use to imagine our future? Who gets to participate in these imaginaries and who is thereby excluded? What role do the arts and design play in this process? In this class, students will gain understanding of an emerging area of interdisciplinary research that reframes the category of the "human" in face of contemporary environmental challenges such as climate change and resource scarcity. Students will become familiar with concepts and theories associated with post-humanism, new materialisms, and environmental humanities and use them to reflect on examples from architecture, design, and the arts.

Instructor(s): Desiree Foerster

Offered: Winter 2021, Winter 2022

Category: Elective