Imagine an archaeologist or geologist of the deep future. She is at work, intent, uncovering & examining an object or its traces that speaks of our present time. Peek over her shoulder. What is she looking at? What object exemplifies our moment on the Earth – & tells how that moment came to be?
Humans have been exerting so much influence on the planet’s workings of late & creating what for all intents & purposes are permanent changes to it, that some have argued we are living in a new age not just in human history, but in Earth history: the Anthropocene.
In winter 2020, students in Western University’s course on “The Anthropocene: History of a Human Planet,” taught by Prof. Alan MacEachern, considered what material object best exemplifies our transition to & present existence in this new age.
The students were creating a physical exhibit of their chosen objects – a toy dinosaur was located, a bag of chemical fertilizer borrowed – when history itself got in the way, in the form of COVID-19. So the exhibit has moved online.
This project is inspired by Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene, co-edited by Gregg Mitman, Marco Armiero, & Robert S. Emmett, 2018, & by an assignment developed by Tina Loo at UBC. Thanks to them, & thanks to NiCHE for hosting this exhibit.
Latest posts by Alan MacEachern (see all)
- Material World: Exhibiting the Anthropocene - May 4, 2020
- CHESS 2020 ~ keep the dates! - October 4, 2019
- Well-Grounded - July 10, 2019
- ICEHO Bulletin 19 - March 28, 2019
- Review of Mannell, Living Lightly on the Earth - February 6, 2019
- Canopy: An Interview with Alan MacEachern - January 15, 2019
- The Year in Apocalypses - December 31, 2018
- Morley K. Thomas, 1918-2018 - April 27, 2018
- When History Stops at the Border - April 11, 2018
- World Congress of Environmental History 2019: Call for Papers - March 10, 2018