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Summer school Anthropocene

  • 04 - 08 July 2022
  • Groningen
  • Communication & Societal Impact, Geosciences

Should the Anthropocene be recognised as an official subdivision of geological time? The proposition of this term has raised much discussion during the past decade. Is our species’ imprint visible geologically? What was the tipping point towards anthropogenic impact to such a degree that it defines a geological epoch?

The nature of this debate necessitates crossing disciplinary boundaries, and while the term has not been officially accepted by the geological community it is already in use by a broad academic society. To truly understand this debate, one must get to its essence and critically examine the validness of definitions and arguments used.

In this summer school you will learn how to participate in an academic debate, how to formulate your own arguments and present these to an academic audience. Experts in different fields will present their case for the Anthropocene and share relevant insights. By exploring human imprints observed in various relevant research domains, this school will try to elucidate the essence of the debate and discuss how it relates to our current perception of human impact on the environment.

The school will be structured around four themes discussed during the first four days:

  1. Shifts in subsistence and environmental impact (history, archaeology, economy)
  2. Are we friendly neighbours? Interspecies relationships (biology, ecology, paleoecology)
  3. Will Homo sapiens leave a geological mark? (geology, earth system science)
  4. How anthropocentric is the Anthropocene? (philosophy, anthropology)

The fifth day will conclude the school. Students will present their stance on the Anthropocene based on arguments debated during the previous days. We aim to procude an academic output as a group following the school.

  • Copernicus Institute / University of Groningen
  • Level: PhD, Master, and advanced Bachelor students
  • 1 May 2022