International experts explore humanity’s role and responses in a time of environmental crisis.

The Australian Museum invites us to reflect on and learn about the environmental change surrounding us through their 2018 lecture series HumanNature. HumanNature: The Humanities in a Time of Environmental Crisis will investigate increasingly present crises such as climate change, mass species extinction, Indigenous dispossession, racism and the excesses of capitalism.

The lecture series will discuss the relationship between our human activity and its role in shaping the earth and its future possibilities.

“The Australian Museum, in partnership with UNSW Sydney, Macquarie University, The University of Sydney and Western Sydney University, has gathered some of the world’s best scholars working at the intersection of the humanities and science to explore the role that we can play in addressing some of the most pressing global challenges of our time,” says AM Director and CEO Kim McKay.

The series will draw on insights from history, literature, philosophy, anthropology and related disciplines to explore how the humanities can tackle our most imminent environmental changes.

AM Creative Producer Tanya Goldberg says the global impacts of environmental change and crisis can often feel distant from our daily lives. “HumanNature challenges that remoteness, showcasing not only the depth of expert knowledge that is tackling these problems but the breadth of its applications in how we understand the crises facing our world and their possible solutions.”

What: HumanNature: The Humanities in a Time of Environmental Crisis
When: Once a month from February to October 2018
Where: Australian Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney
Tickets: AM Members: $16 | General: $20 | Concession: $18.

Bookings recommended:
Tickets at door subject to availability.


Lecture Series Programme

15 February
TIME: Radical Histories for Uncanny Times
Tom Griffiths, Professor of History,
Australian National University

AM Eureka Prize winner Tom Griffiths discusses the historian’s craft and its importance amid profound environmental and social change. Griffiths will explore how Australian understandings of the past have shaped our environmental possibilities.


8 March
EXTINCTION: Gifts of Life in the Shadow of Death
Deborah Bird Rose, Professor of Environmental Humanities, UNSW Sydney

Prize-winning author, Deborah Bird Rose investigates how gift-giving is central to life at a time of mass extinction.


23rd April
CLIMATE: Cultures of Climate
Mike Hulme, Professor of Human Geography,
University of Cambridge (UK)

Mike Hulme explores the ways climates are changed, blamed, feared and redesigned, amid the politics of climate change.


24 May
LIFE: Living Biological Objects on the Pedestal
Oron Catts, Director of SymboiticA, the Centre of Excellence in Biological Arts, The University of Western Australia

Biological arts pioneer Oron Catts explores the possibilities that emerge when art meets biology and asks: What is life?


14th June
GARDEN: Taupata, Taro, Roots, Earth: the (Indigenous) Politics of Gardening
Alice Te Punga Somerville, Associate Professor Maori and Indigenous Studies, University of Waikato (NZ)

Alice Te Punga Somerville explores the history of gardening and activism among Indigenous peoples in the Pacific region.


12th July
PLANT: Feminist Botany for the Age of Man
Catriona Sandilands, Professor of Environmental Studies, York University (Canada)

Join Catriona Sandilands on an adventure into the fascinating worlds of plants. Sandilands draws on diverse relationships between women and plants to outline a feminist botany that unsettles the “Anthropocene” as the centre of attention.


23rd August
KINSHIP: American Dreaming is Indigenous Elimination
Kim TallBear, Associate Professor of Native Studies, University of Alberta (Canada)

Kim TallBear considers the strange intersections between nature and the lives and deaths of Indigenous peoples in the United States. TallBear highlights how anti-racism movements are co-constituted with the doctrine of Indigenous elimination.


6th September
CAPITAL: Work, Cheap Nature, and the Violence of Real Abstraction
Jason W. Moore, Associate Professor of Sociology, Binghamton University (USA)

Join Jason Moore as he explores capitalism and the roots of today’s planetary crisis, arguing that both are grounded in a history of putting nature and people to work.


18 October
COUNTRY: Dark Emu by Bruce Pascoe

Award-winning author and Bunurong/Tasmanian Yuin man, Bruce Pascoe re-examines the notion of pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians as hunter-gatherers and retells Indigenous history, arguing that it is time to take a new look at the past.