Transcending Nature: the Anthropocene and Environmental History of Northern Eurasia

Summer schools 5 March 2020
  Call for applications is opened for the Summer school "Transcending Nature: Anthropocene and Environmental History of Northern Eurasia". School is organized by the Center "Humane, Nature, Technology" and will be held in Tyumen State University at July 27 - August 2.

  The beginning of the XXI century will be called ‘the epoch of ecology’ by the future generations of historians. Wildfires, floods, increasingly warm winters and rainy summers have caused a tempestuous debate on the role of humanity in connection with environmental change. In this regard, the comparatively new term of the ‘Anthropocene’ has received widespread recognition and, as it seems, will be adopted as an official term at the 36 th World Geological Congress in India in 2020 to denote the current geological epoch. The present-day situation in the sciences looks paradoxical: as Bruno Latour points out, the environmental issue is not purely scientific anymore. It is more than ever a matter of social struggle and controversy as well as political bargaining to ratify new interpretations of nature policy.

  This means that the study of the environment can no longer be left to the sciences alone, but must be tackled interdisciplinarity. In order to understand its complex entanglements, the environment becomes a legitimate field of interest for scholars of the social sciences and humanities as the Anthropocene stands for an epoch that no longer allows the thought divide between nature and culture.

   The aim of the summer school is to collect ideas on the Anthropocene in Northern Eurasia and to discuss similarities and differences with the other regions. The formation of a new language for the epoch of Anthropocene is impossible without the study of specific cases in their relationship with up-to-date approaches of the environmental humanities. As a result, the goal of the summer school is to discuss the idea of a North Eurasian Anthropocene, its similarity and differences from other regional variations and anthropocenic developments elsewhere in the world. To accomplish this, it is necessary to combine regional case studies and the general theoretical framework.

  At the school, we are going to discuss various aspects of the environmental humanities:
  Key approaches of environmental humanities,
  An environmental history of Northern Eurasia,
  Global and regional dimensions of the Anthropocene.

  We welcome applications from historians, philosophers, anthropologists or sociologists. However, applications must not necessarily have their disciplinary background in one of the listed disciplines as the program is open to all graduate students and early career researchers, whose interests lie in the field of environmental humanities and for those who are interested in the understanding of the environment through a humanities perspective . We suppose that the participants intensively read texts on environmental studies and then discuss them during the summer school.

  Please send your application by May 1, 2020, to anthropoceneschool2020@gmail.com including a draft of your presentation for the school (700 – 1000 words) and CV. Reimbursement of travel expenses and accommodation is possible for some participants. Please indicate whether you need compensation for your travel.

  Program overview
The aim of this summer school is to bring together young scholars (MA and PhD students) and specialists in the fields of environmental humanities  and  Russian/Soviet/Northern  Eurasia environmental  history.  We
suppose that the phenomenon of the Anthropocene is widely discussed now, but the voice of historians is still not strong enough. To strengthen this voice, we want to discuss how we  could  study  the Anthropocene historically and
how regional cases can contribute to the discussion and understanding of this global phenomenon.

  The summer school’s program includes lectures, reading seminars, paper presentations and discussions. We perceive lectures and reading seminars as a guide to generally grasp the problems of the
Anthropocene and look at its applicability to Russian/Soviet history as well as the history of Eastern Europe. Paper presentations will consist of group work using the participants’ theses and a discussion of their research through from the perspective of the environmental humanities. We also propose two collective discussions – one about the current state of the environmental humanities and their position in the academic world and one final debate about the role of historical study of Northern Eurasia in the debates on Anthropocene.

Tyumen is the first and the oldest Russian city in Siberia. It was founded in 1586 to support Russia's eastward expansion, and still remains to be one of the most important industrial centers of the region.
Since 2018, Tyumen is recognized as the most comfortable (in terms of living) city in Russia. The University of Tyumen is among the 15 best in Russia. In July 2019 a research center “Humanet:
Human, Nature, Technology” was founded there. The center gathers a team of young scholars coming from the field of history and environmental humanities, who represent the school’s organizing committee. The goal of the center is to connect the area studies of Siberia and fields of environmental humanities.

  The majority of the summer school’s planned events will be held in Lukashino, which is part of the university’s campus located near the city, and surrounded by a picturesque landscape. The school’s invitees will be
accommodated in shared rooms with shared kitchen and showers. The uni versity campus in Lukashino offers a conference room and a good recreation and sports infrastructure.

  Cultural program
Excursions, hiking tours and informal meetings will make an important part of the summer school’s program. They will be connected with the subject of the school and will give the opportunity for informal network and exchange.
The school will start with a guided tour through the city of Tyumen and visits of the city’s most important museums: The Museum of the City Council (that holds an extensive collection about the natural history of the region), the Museum of Local History and the Archaeological Museum.

  Participants of the school will be offered the opportunity to visit and swim in the geothermal hot springs near Lukashino, which are one of the main attractions of Tyumen. On the last day of the school, we will go on a guided tour through Tobolsk – the city which used to be the “capital of Siberia” from the 17th to the 19th century. The tour will include the exploration of the picturesque landscape
and visits to the Tobolsk Kremlin (the last building of this kind in Russian history, constructed in the 18th century), ancient Orthodox churches and monasteries.
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