Patchy Anthropocene: The Feral Impacts of Infrastructure

Global climate change policy is not enough: environmental damage emerges patch by patch.  It is up close and personal as well as planetary.  Perhaps what we need is a “field guide” to the feral, that is, to nonhuman responses to human building projects that are out of human control: from noxious weeds to plagues to out-of-control carbon-dioxide emissions. This talk shows how we might address the Anthropocene in its granular particularity—while still attending to the global and the planetary.


Currently Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing is an internationally renowned anthropologist. In addition to over forty articles, Prof Tsing is the author of several award-winning books, including In the Realm of the Diamond Queen (1995) and Friction: An Ethnography of Global Connection (2005). In 2010, Prof. Tsing received a Guggenheim Fellowship, during which she wrote her multiple award–winning book, The Mushroom at the End of the World (2015), which considers how the matsutake mushroom is a figure for understanding global dilemmas of capitalism and the environment. Between 2013 and 2018, Prof. Tsing was Niels Bohr Professor at Aarhus University in Denmark, where she established a transdisciplinary program encompassing the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences, and the arts in an exploration of  the “Anthropocene," i.e., the geologic epoch defined by human disturbance of the earth’s ecosystems. From that project, she co-curated Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene (2021), a multi-disciplinary digital exploration of the Anthropocene. She is currently co-authoring a book that draws from that project, entitled Field Guide to the Patchy Anthropocene.


This event is part of the Institute’s Lectures on Public Policy series, funded by an anonymous gift and curated by the School of Social Science. The series aims to address issues of broad import, relevant to contemporary politics and social conditions.



University of California, Santa Cruz