Being Human in the Anthropocene
Perhaps the title should really be a question: What does it mean to be human in an era that some insist is a contrivance, one that doesn’t correspond to any sense of geological time? Yet we’ve been told that the postmodern world is one in which time and space are compressed, while others argue that humanism ignores the relationship of Homo sapiens with other species. Framing the issues from the inherently holistic and transdisciplinary perspective of anthropology, the intent is to provoke our reflection on human being in a time of human-induced climate changes. We might not get there, but some might even raise another question about the shape of alternative lifeways and human imagination: How do we deal with social problems in a posthuman world?
About the Speaker
The featured speaker, Dr. Matt Samson, is associate professor of Anthropology and Chair of the Latin American Studies department at Davidson College. He is a sociocultural anthropologist whose work centers on indigenous culture and religious change in Latin America, particularly among the Maya in Guatemala. He is also interested in issues of environmental sustainability and development, humanistic anthropology, and the intersection of social justice and human rights in ethnic relations and contemporary political discourse surrounding migration from Latin America to the United States. Most of his academic research has been conducted in Guatemala and the wider cultural region of Mesoamerica on issues of Maya identity and evangelical religion. He grew up in rural Louisiana and is also interested in communal identity and social change in the southern United States and the Mexico-U.S. border region.