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Lecture 5

GG270 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Niagara Falls, Anthropocene

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David R Lewis

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Sarah Neeb
Lecture 5- Nature Culture
- There are theological beliefs that understood the idea of nature being made for humans
- Sense that humans have domain over the world and everything was made for us we are at the
apex of the world. Strong belief in the human supremacy through nature
- The approaches started to challenge this theological thought
- This was a challenge to understand the dominance of the theological belief and what the
humans place was in this world
- The sense that nature is powerful and that nature evokes power and wonder. This was
expressed through art and literature, focus on nature as sublime
- There is recognition of human beings not being in control ( Niagra Falls). Humans cannot control
the power that comes from the Falls
- We need to recognize the scale of change that is occurring due to humans activities. There are a
body of scholars who argue that we live now in a geological age that has been turned to the
- Humans are living in this era where human impact has such an impact on the environment that
we actually are ruining it. For example, all the waste that goes into our waters , they get broken
down and the chemicals are embedded in the ocean floor. Scholars argue that those chemicals
are going to be part of the geological composition. In future generations, people will be able to
go down to the ocean floor and find the chemicals from our time. They will then know that this
was the anthropocene era.
- About understanding how things are in their environment, the relationship between those
- Looking at the systems that come about because of those relationships
- Can’t just say it’s all technology because we need to know how technology spreads and how we
find out about it
- There is a feedback mechanism that needs to be understood
- Wasn’t just a by product: cultural materialism
- Culture itself could have an impact and become productive
- All the superstructure is doing is trying to maintain the base, culture is seen as part of this
- Needs to be internalization inside the base in order for it to succeed. The base is often seen as
the productive stage. Need to maintain that idea of cultural inclusion within the base.
- Took hold in the 1920’s-30’s with Chicago school
- Attempt to bring together the natural systems we live in