Professor Tobias Boes from Department of German and Russian, University of Notre Dame
Topic: Reading the Book of the World: What the Humanities Can Teach Us About Global Climate Change
What role do the humanities – and in particular those humanistic fields that take textual sources as their primary archive – play in studying global climate change? This talk will argue that their importance goes beyond merely providing historical context for our present condition, or interpreting narratives of so-called “climate fiction.” Instead, the fact that the human species has entered into an age of geophysical agency (the Anthropocene) means that the planet earth itself has become a communicative medium. This medium, furthermore obeys a symbolic logic similar to to that of textual artifacts. The pre-modern metaphorical tradition of the “book of nature” (liber naturae) can help in studying this condition.