The Society’s Annual International Conference is being held this week at the University of Exeter, with the theme of “Geographies of the Anthropocene”.
The largest event in the Society’s calendar, the Annual International Conference is also the largest annual European geography conference. This year 1,400 delegates from 45 countries around the world will gather for three days to present and discuss more than 1,100 papers in 300 sessions. Follow the conference hashtag #RGSIBG15 for news and updates from Exeter.
The Anthropocene has been claimed to herald a new geological epoch in which human society is acknowledged as having become the greatest force shaping planet Earth. Although its recognition as a new age in geological history remains provisional, the idea of the Anthropocene has already captured the public imagination and that of scientists, social scientists and humanities scholars variously advancing new projects, agendas and critiques in its wake.
The Chair of Conference, Professor Sarah Whatmore (University of Oxford) in her welcome to the delegates, highlights that the theme plays to the unique strengths of geography - combining the insights, skills and perspectives of geographers working across the spectrum of human and physical geography.
The conference opens on Tuesday evening with a plenary which brings together two leading scholars, Will Steffen and Kathy Willis. They will consider the Anthropocene in terms of ‘Towards a bright future or global collapse? and ‘4 degrees and beyond – what does this mean for biodiversity and the ecosystem services it provides to humankind?’.
The lunchtime Chair’s plenary lectures that follow for the rest of the week, feature Anna Tsing, Amita Baviskar and Elizabeth Povinelli. Each will consider different dimensions of the Anthropocene – in terms of planetary governance and the perspectives of the Global South; post-human’ or ‘more-than-human’ modes of theorising and analysis; and new public engagement.
The Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers lecture this year will be given by Noel Castree ‘Geographers and the discourse of an Earth transformed: influencing the intellectual weather or changing the intellectual climate?’.