The Digital Anthropocene: Call for Collaboration and Research Partners
Charles Travis (email@example.com) Center for Environmental Humanities, School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin
This call for collaboration and partners aims to produce, promote and disseminate research from integrated networks in environmental change and society, environmental humanities, human geography, geographical information science (GIS), distributed computing, media, communications, networks, and information society. The “Digital Anthropocene” encompasses three interlinked global trends of the early twenty-first century which include digital technology, climate change and social-political agency and conflict. In contemporary western and globalized spheres, similar changes involving digital, telecommunication and social media technologies have turned humans into living, breathing remote sensors, and unwitting social and environmental actors who collectively spawn “digital wildfires,” and churn out oceans of “Big Data.” Following Claude Lévi-Strauss’s “three humanisms” of occidental history, “digital humanism” coined by Milad Doueihi (2013) describes a fourth convergence of the world’s complex cultural heritage and technology which is changing human relations between territory, knowledge, history and habitat. Doueihi asks “what is the situation with the anthropology of this new inhabited earth, these new digital territories that are flexible, fluid and constantly moving? How should we think about them, analyze them . . . ?” Neurologist Susan Greenfield, (2014) finds similarities between human climate change dilemmas and those created by social digital technology and networks: “the human brain will adapt to whatever environment in which it is placed . . . [and] could therefore be changing in parallel, in corresponding new ways. To the extent that we can begin to understand and anticipate these changes positive or negative, we will be able to better navigate this new world.”
Approaches to considering such questions on the relationship between digital, social, psychological and environmental changes have lacked fuller integrations of humanities, social sciences, and computer science research networks to explore cultural contingencies, agencies, affective elements and socio-cultural historical precedents. An overall aim is to develop an agenda, and contribute initial findings to the digital and social agency methodologies component of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2018 Report. In the short-term, the proposal will apply digital and cultural perspectives to highlight the relevance of environmental history to contemporary interlinked issues of social agency, political and ideological conflict and climate change. In addition the proposal will have an impact by promoting research in Ireland in these related fields with academic and software technology organizations and networks in the USA, UK, and South Africa.
Dr. Charles Travis, Center for Environmental Humanities, A6. 0004, 6th Floor Arts. Bldg., School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College, Dublin 2, Ireland