“Climate Change: Disciplinary Challenges to the Humanities and the Social Sciences” convenes a reading group that typically meets every other Thursday during the academic quarter.  Each quarter’s meetings feature readings curated by an invited professor: in fall, the environmental historian Joshua Howe (Reed); in winter, the cultural historian Jason Kelly (Purdue-Indianapolis); and in spring, the literary theorist Tobias Menely (University of California, Davis). The reading group is open to the public.

Spring Syllabus

Meetings of the reading group take place on select Thursdays (see syllabus below) from 4:30-6:00pm in the Neubauer Collegium Reading Room (5701 S. Woodlawn).  Tobias Menely has helped curate the reading list for Spring, and he will be in residence for the workshop on Thursday, June 2.  

The Reading Group concludes with a daylong symposium on Friday, June 3, 9:30am - 5:00pm at the Neubauer Collegium.  Guests from throughout the year will be returning to campus for the symposium. Click for details >>

To download articles and book chapters, please visit  Please direct any questions to Michael Dango at

March 31: Media/Mediation

·      Parikka, Geology of Media, Chapter 2

·      Peters, The Marvelous Clouds, Chapters 3 and 5

April 14: Energy

·      Vernadsky, selections from The Biosphere (“The Biosphere as Cosmic Medium,” “The Biosphere as a Region of Transformation,” “Living Matter in the Biosphere,” “The Multiplication of Organisms,” “The Limits of Life in the Biosphere”)

·      Malm, Fossil Capital, Chapters 13 and 15

·      Clark and Yusoff, “Combustion and Society: A Fire-Centered History of Energy Use”

May 12: Readings in response to Ursula Heise

Ursula Heise will be visiting the Center for International Studies to discuss “Global Thought and the Anthropocene” in conversation with Bill Brown, Fredrik Albritton Jonsson, and Benjamin Morgan on Wednesday, May 4, in Social Sciences Building room 122 (1126 E. 59th St.).

·      Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, The Collapse of Western Civilization, selections

·      Ursula Heise, Imagining Extinction (forthcoming), selections

May 26: Biosphere and the Climate

·      Williams et al., “The Anthropocene Biosphere,” The Anthropocene Review

·      Whitington, “The Terrestrial Envelope,” in A Cultural History of Climate Change (due out in April)

·      Taylor, The Sky of Our Manufactures, Introduction and Chapter 1 (due out March 23)

June 2: Anthropocene Futures (Tobias Menely in residence)

·      Szersynski, “The End of the End of Nature: The Anthropocene and the Fate of the Human”

·      Ronda, “Mourning and Melancholia in the Anthropocene,” online:

·      Yusoff, “The Geoengine”

·      Dalby, “Geoengineering”


Winter Syllabus

In Winter, meetings of the reading group typically take place on select Thursdays (see below) from 4:30-6:00pm in the Neubauer Collegium Reading Room (5701 S. Woodlawn), but please note special days and times for guest speakers.  Jason Moore will be in residence on Monday, January 11, and Jason Kelly will be in residence Monday, February 22 and Thursday, February 25.

To download articles and book chapters, please visit CLICK HERE.

Please direct questions about the reading group to Michael Dango at

Monday, January 11 at 5:15pm NOTE: Special day and time
“The Capitalocene: Readings from Jason Moore”
Special visitor: Jason Moore (SUNY Binghamton)

  1. Introduction from Capitalism in the Web of Life
  2. “Rise of Cheap Nature,” from forthcoming edited volume on the Capitalocene
  3. Two part essay in Journal of Agrarian Change, “Amsterdam is Standing on Norway” (2010)

Thursday, January 21 at 4:30pm
“Problems of Scale”

  1.  Julia Adeney Thomas, “History and Biology in the Anthropocene: Problems of Scale, Problems of Value,” American Historical Review, December 2014
  2. Elinor Ostrom, “A Polycentric Approach for Coping with Climate Change”
  3. Deborah Coen, “Big is a Thing of the Past,” Journal for the History of Ideas, forthcoming
  4. Noah Heringman, “Deep Time at the Dawn of the Anthropocene,” Representations 129, no. 1 (Winter 2015): 56–85

Monday, February 22 at 4:30pm 
Special guest: Jason Kelly (IUPUI)

  1. Lorimer, Jamie. “Multinatural Geographies for the Anthropocene.” Progress in Human Geography 36, no. 5 (October 1, 2012): 593–612.
  2. Åsberg, Cecilia, Astrida Neimanis, and Johan Hedrén. “Four Problems, Four Directions For Environmental Humanities : Toward A Critical Posthumanities For the Anthropocene.” Ethics and the Environment 20, no. 1 (2014): 67–97.
  3. Lövbrand, Eva, Silke Beck, Jason Chilvers, Tim Forsyth, Johan Hedrén, Mike Hulme, Rolf Lidskog, and Eleftheria Vasileiadou. “Who Speaks for the Future of Earth? How Critical Social Science Can Extend the Conversation on the Anthropocene.” Global Environmental Change 32 (May 2015): 211–18.
  4. Burdon, Peter, Georgina Drew, Matthew Stubbs, Adam Webster, and Marcus Barber. “Decolonising Indigenous Water ‘rights’ in Australia: Flow, Difference, and the Limits of Law.” Settler Colonial Studies 5, no. 4 (2015): 334–49.

Thursday, February 25 at 4:30pm
“What is the Public Role of the Humanities in the Climate Change Debate?”
Special guest: Jason Kelly

  1. Clingerman, Forrest. “Environmental Amnesia or the Memory of Place? The Need for Local Ethics of Memory in a Philosophical Theology of Place.” In Religion and Ecology in the Public Sphere, edited by Celia Deane-Drummond and Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, 141–59. London: T&T Clark, 2011.
  2. Goldstein, Bruce Evan, Anne Taufen Wessells, Raul Lejano, and William Butler. “Narrating Resilience: Transforming Urban Systems Through Collaborative Storytelling.” Urban Studies 52, no. 7 (May 1, 2015): 1285–1303.
  3. Vanasupa, Linda, Lizabeth Schlemer, Roger Burton, Courtney Brogno, Ginger Hendrix, and Neal MacDougall. “Laying the Foundation for Transdisciplinary Faculty Collaborations: Actions for a Sustainable Future.” Sustainability 6, no. 5 (May 14, 2014): 2893–2928.
  4. Pandya, Rajul E. “Community-Driven Research in the Anthropocene.” In Future Earth—Advancing Civic Understanding of the Anthropocene, edited by Diana Dalbotten, Gillian Roehrig, and Patrick Hamilton, 53–66. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2014.
  5. Russell, Bertie. “Beyond Activism/academia: Militant Research and the Radical Climate and Climate Justice Movement(s).” Area 47, no. 3 (September 1, 2015): 222–29.

Tuesday, March 1 at 4:30pm — NOTE special day
Special visitor: Christophe Bonneuil (EHESS)

Preface and chapters 2, 4, and 10 from The Shock of the Anthropocene (Verso, 2016)


Fall Syllabus

In fall, all meetings of the reading group will be held from 4:30-6:00pm in the Neubauer Collegium building (5701 S. Woodlawn), room 300A.  Joshua Howe will be in residence for the meetings on October 1 and October 22.

October 1: New/Old Natures and Climate Science

1.     Bill McKibben, “The End of Nature” from The End of Nature (40pp)

2.     Bill Cronon, “Trouble with Wilderness” in Uncommon Ground (30pp)

3.     Dipesh Chakrabarty, “Climate of History: Four Theses,” Critical Inquiry 35 (2009): 197-222

4.     Chapters 1-2 and 9-10 from Zalasiewicz and Williams, The Goldilocks Planet (120pp)


October 15: Climate Science (cont.)

1.     Remaining chapters of The Goldilocks Planet (150pp)

2.     Sections 1 and 3 from David Archer, The Long Thaw (115pp)


October 22: Joshua Howe's work

1.     Joshua Howe, Behind the Curve (300pp) (available online through the University of Chicago library website)

2.     Howe, “The Stories We Tell,” Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences, 42.3 (2012): 244-54

3.     Howe, “This is Nature, This is Un-Nature,” Environmental History 20 (2015): 286-93

4.     Howe, draft introduction and chapter from Making Climate Change History: Working with Document's From Global Warming’s Past (forthcoming) (56pp)

5.     Naomi Oreskes and Erik Conway, “The Denial of Global Warming” in Merchants of Doubt (50pp)


October 29: Anthropocene Science

1.     Paul Crutzen, “Geology of Mankind,” Nature 415 (2002) (2 pp)

2.     Will Steffen, Jacques Grinevald, Paul Crutzen, and John McNeill, “The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives,” Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society 369 (2011): 842-67

3.     Johan Rockström et al., “Planetary Boundaries: Exploring the Safe Operating Space for Humanity,” Ecology and Society 14 (2009): 32-65


November 12: The Anthropocene and Its Critics

1.     Schellenberger and Nordhaus, “Death of Environmentalism” (37pp)

2.     Andreas Malm and Alf Hornborg, “The Geology of Mankind: A Critique of the Anthropocene Narrative,” The Anthropocene Review 1 (2014): 62-9

3.     Richard B. Norgaard, “The Econocene and the Delta,” San Francisco Estuary and Watershed Science 11 (2013): 1-5

4.     Mary C. Stiner, Timothy Earle, Daniel Lord Smail, and Andrew Shryock, "Scale," from Deep History: The Architecture of Past and Present, pp. 242-72