Global Weirding: Climate Change and Culture   Department of Anthropology, Cornell University  Superstorms in New York, floods in the Middle East, rain at the Winter Olympics. Humans used to be subject to the weather, but these days we weird the weather. Yet how do we know what we know about climate change? What are the cultural dimensions of our sense of its reality? In this course, we shall examine the ongoing transformation of climate change from a remote artifact of scientific knowledge into a pervasive imaginary resource of contemporary thinking and religiosity. Readings will range from the ethnographic study of carbon trading to Nathaniel Rich’s fictional account of near-future Manhattan reclaimed by the sea. Writing assignments will emphasize the ability to juxtapose scholarly research from history, anthropology, and philosophy with a wide range of non-academic documents like newspapers, political speeches, legal briefings, military intelligence, and corporate literature

Global Weirding: Climate Change and Culture
Department of Anthropology, Cornell University
Superstorms in New York, floods in the Middle East, rain at the Winter Olympics. Humans used to be subject to the weather, but these days we weird the weather. Yet how do we know what we know about climate change? What are the cultural dimensions of our sense of its reality? In this course, we shall examine the ongoing transformation of climate change from a remote artifact of scientific knowledge into a pervasive imaginary resource of contemporary thinking and religiosity. Readings will range from the ethnographic study of carbon trading to Nathaniel Rich’s fictional account of near-future Manhattan reclaimed by the sea. Writing assignments will emphasize the ability to juxtapose scholarly research from history, anthropology, and philosophy with a wide range of non-academic documents like newspapers, political speeches, legal briefings, military intelligence, and corporate literature

Witchcraft, Insurance, and Terror   Department of Anthropology, Cornell University  “A brutal typhoon kills 6,300 people in the Philippines!” “A lone wolf terrorist ends the lives of 77 people in Norway!” “A driverless train carrying 72 boxcars of crude oil explodes in Canada!” All of these statements refer to events in which foreseeable and unforeseeable conditions intermingle, and intended and unintended acts mix. In a chance-filled world of unavoidable violence, this course asks: How do social institutions distribute responsibility for experiences of loss? Drawing on anthropological research, noir fiction, and the philosophy of design, this seminar aims to denaturalize the cultural production of misfortune and the quintessential spaces of its management, from insurance offices to climate conferences. Writing assignments will encourage students to “think dangerously” and to juxtapose academic texts alongside non-academic artifacts.

Witchcraft, Insurance, and Terror
Department of Anthropology, Cornell University
“A brutal typhoon kills 6,300 people in the Philippines!” “A lone wolf terrorist ends the lives of 77 people in Norway!” “A driverless train carrying 72 boxcars of crude oil explodes in Canada!” All of these statements refer to events in which foreseeable and unforeseeable conditions intermingle, and intended and unintended acts mix. In a chance-filled world of unavoidable violence, this course asks: How do social institutions distribute responsibility for experiences of loss? Drawing on anthropological research, noir fiction, and the philosophy of design, this seminar aims to denaturalize the cultural production of misfortune and the quintessential spaces of its management, from insurance offices to climate conferences. Writing assignments will encourage students to “think dangerously” and to juxtapose academic texts alongside non-academic artifacts.