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Tanner Lectures on Human Values: “The Last Dystopia: Historicizing the Anthropocene Debate in an Age of Multipolarity: Lecture 1–Beyond the Unipolar Moment”

Adam Tooze, Columbia University

November 9, 2023 · 4:30 pm6:30 pm ·

University Center for Human Values

ABSTRACT: In the last 25 years the concept of the Anthropocene has emerged as a master category for thinking the contemporary environmental crisis. As much as it has energized the humanities and social sciences, the concept has been criticized for falsely postulating a collective human agent of environmental destruction. In the 2023 Tanner lectures, Adam Tooze will historicize this debate, placing it in relation to the struggle over global development. Born in the era of the first Cold War the vision of a comprehensive environmental transformation in the service of humankind needs to be placed now in relation to a new era of comprehensive global development, great power competition and polycrisis.

Lecture I: Beyond the Unipolar Moment

In this lecture, Tooze will locate the first phase of global climate politics in the unipolar moment of the 1990s.

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