Climate Week: "A Thousand Dead Snow Geese: The Matter of the Non-Human in the Age of Humans" with Timothy LeCaine
The Harvard University Mahindra Center for the Humanities presents "The Matter of the Non-Human in the Age of Humans" with Timothy LeCaine, Associate Professor of History and Director of Graduate Studies, Montana State University.
Timothy LeCain is a historian of the environment and technology who focuses on the ways in which new materialist theories can help us to better understand the past. His forthcoming book, The Matter of History: How Things Create the Past (under contract with Cambridge University Press), develops a bold new theoretical and methodological approach that emphasizes the many ways in which a dynamic material environment creates humans, both as biological and cultural creatures. Squarely challenging the conventional lines drawn between human culture and nature, LeCain argues we are best understood as "natural born humans"--not in a determinative or genetic sense, but rather as creatures who arise out of the creative energy and immense possibilities of a vibrant material world.
LeCain's first book, Mass Destruction, won the 2010 best book of the year award from the American Society for Environmental History and was chosen as an Outstanding Book of the Year by Choice, the review publication of the American Library Association. Mass Destruction is an environmental and technological history of the giant open-pit copper mines developed in the American West in the first half of the Twentieth Century and their global consequences. LeCain has published nearly fifty articles, op-ed pieces, reviews, and other pieces. His most recent major article, “Against the Anthropocene: A Neo-Materialist Perspective,” argues that the inherent anthropocentrism of this proposed geological epoch tends to reinforce the very same human hubris that caused many contemporary environmental problems in the first place.
LeCain has been a research fellow at the Smithsonian Institution, the Huntington Library, and the Center for the American West. He is currently an Associate Professor of history and Director of Graduate Studies at Montana State University in Bozeman, Montana.
About Harvard Climate Week: The Harvard University Center for the Environment, in cooperation with a wide variety of partner institutions across the Harvard campus, has organized a week of climate change-related events called Climate Week. This week-long program will give the Harvard community, as well as the interested public, exposure to some of the best scholarship and thinking related to climate change that we have at the University. For more information and the full list of events visit: environment.harvard.edu/climateweek.