Whether different aspects of Anthropocene change are considered good or bad depends as much on cultural values and flexibility as on any physical and biological realities.
What are the circumstances under which humans fear, repel or embrace the changing biological world?
This programme will evaluate why some individuals, organisations and societies apparently value biodiversity gains, but others respond with disdain. What psychological, historical and cultural processes lead to this spectrum of attitudes and responses to novelty, and how do negative or positive attitudes then affect the prospects for biodiversity?
Areas of interest
- Attitudes to novelty, examining the circumstances under which novel species and genetic forms are regarded as objects of desire or shunned.
- Idealised ecosystems, investigating how and why perceptions of landscape and ecosystem beauty vary from landscape taming and improvement, through to restoration and rewilding.
- Attitudes into action, in which we analyse how human attitudes and ideals translate into cultural practices and policies, and whether these practices then give rise to increases or declines in biodiversity.
Dr Sarah Bezan - My research demonstrates how contemporary creative representations of species loss and revival are radically reshaping cultural imaginaries of the Anthropocene.
Professor Mark Jenner - I am committed to interdisciplinary work which relates archival research to theoretical concerns and current work within anthropology, literary studies and social theory.
Dr Harrie Neal - The overarching arm of my research project explores the ways in which non-native species have been historically characterised and constructed.
Theo Tomking - My research focuses on the role of indigenous knowledge in developments in agricultural science and ecological thinking in Britain and its colonies in the 20th century.
Chantal Berry - My research focuses upon acoustic ecology, or the sounds and rhythms of human-nature relationships between c.1500-c.1800.
Dr Michael Stratigos
I am especially interested in how humans have changed the extent and character of wetland environments in the past 300–500 years and what that has meant for the cultural and natural heritage of these environments.