In the 21st century, humans exert massive influence on the earth, shaping a system of enormous complexity, dispersed agency, and the unknown rules of change and balance. Pandemics, famines, migration, and wars all result from these interactions among humans, their institutions, and nature. The concept of Anthropocene, also known as the Gaia Theory, summarizes contemporary anxieties about climate crisis; global pollution; droughts and famines in the global South; heat waves and melting of permafrost in the global North; oil curse and climate denialism; and other global, regional and (sometimes) national issues. We will survey our capacity to create solutions solutions to the problems we face, from geoengineering to vaccinations to reducing consumption to “doughnut urbanism”.
Broad and interdisciplinary, the course will focus on the conflict and security implications of energy use and nature’s abuse. The Russo-Ukrainian War reveals the importance of energy networks for global security and international relations. The Anthropocene provides a modern and relevant context for the new approach to International Relations. Responding to the crisis, all our decisions are political, and modern politics should be explored within the combined system of Gaia.
By the end of the course, students will be able to comprehend the multi-dimensional challenges of the Anthropocene, grasp their political aspects, critically discuss available plans and programs of mitigating these challenges, and develop their own research-based solutions of the specific issues of the Anthropocene.
10% of the grade be awarded for class participation
30% for a presentation
10% for the opinion piece
50% for the final paper