Aarhus Universitets segl

The University of the Anthropocene

Oplysninger om arrangementet


Onsdag 18. december 2019,  kl. 12:30 - 15:30


Aarhus University, Helsingforsgade 14 (building 5347), room 120

What is the role of the university in the anthropocene? And how should the university act in times of climate change, global political instability and new advanced technologies? It is often assumed that the university should play the role as the producer and disseminator of 1) technology that can mitigate or dismantle the risks and problems related to climate change 2) truthful and factual knowledge that will prevent de-stabilization caused by false truth claims. 

However, this role granted to the university, is perhaps both inadequate and naïve? Perhaps these understandings overestimate our human capacities and underestimate the powers unleashed as suggested by researchers of the Anthropocene? Perhaps they linger with a preferred human-centered and modernist understanding of humans as always on ‘top of things’ and with the ability to resolve problems of any kind and magnitude? Perhaps it is a preferred and comfortable utopianism produced by the inability and unwillingness to face the uncertain and potential apocalyptic consequences that awaits us? This seminar is convened in the spirit of allowing and hopefully enabling us to think differently about the role of the university than in these relatively confined ways. We could also think of the role of the university toady as a powerful machine to help us grasp, prepare and meet what might be coming and in an affirmative way acknowledge that what is coming is not, as Donna Haraway puts it, the end of life as such, but the end of certain ways of living. In this debate, we are thus concerned with discussing and imagining the university as being radically redefined by the Anthropocene. We ask the questions: how does the Anthropocene redefine the university and how might we re-imagine and re-invent the role of the university at this moment in time?

The three panelists will each give a brief statement/argument/position and will reflect on how their position articulate a response to the role of the university of the Anthropocene. These statements will form the basis for discussion between all the participants in the seminar. The idea is to have ample time for discussion and debate in the spirit of sharing partial positions and ‘stay with the trouble’ of our current, shared present.

The panelists are:

Anette Vandsø (Aarhus University),

Casper Bruun Jensen (non-affiliated researcher)

Marie Koldkjær Højlund (Aarhus University) 


Coordinators: Peter Lauritsen and Peter Danholt (Aarhus University)

The seminar is hosted by the research program Humans and IT and The Center for STS-studies, Aarhus University and open for all.