Making, Breaking, Reinventing: engaging human/other-animal interface research in the Anthropocene

Thu, Mar 11, 2021, 12:30 pm

The International Geological Association places the official starting date for the Anthropocene at 1950. Do the 60% of primates, 30% of amphibians and 21% of fish species threatened with extinction care? Those of us studying the human/other-animal interface needed no official sanction to denote contemporary rapid, radical and dramatic ecosystem churning. Human-animal interfaces represent critical loci for a majority of research in ecology, behavior and evolutionary biology. But are disciplinary theoretical and methodological approaches keeping pace with the needs and complexities of these processes and patterns?  Yes and no. In this talk I argue that while we have made substantive improvements in theory and methods, historical and traditional commitments to disciplinary silos remain substantive obstacles to innovation and transformation. We (biologists, social scientists, humanists) can benefit from enhanced transdisciplinary engagement. Here I offer brief examples from the research into human-other primates, human-hyena, human-dog, and human-elephant interfaces to illustrate that synergies, hybridities, and contemporary evolutionary theory might be particularly useful in the investigation of current landscapes of humans and others.   

Open to the public.

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