Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Cultural History and Theory


Atlas of the Anthropocene

Critical Geography in Tumultuous Times

Berlin, Germany

June 7-8, 2019

Poster KEYNOTE small

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Unter den Linden 6, 10117
Room 2070A

The venue is wheelchair accessible.


Call for Papers


In 2002, atmospheric chemist Paul Crutzen published an article claiming that humans had so affected the makeup of the planet since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution that the Earth had entered a new geological epoch. This epoch, they suggested, could be called the Anthropocene - for this was the period in which the anthropos, or human, had overpowered nature. Over the past eighteen years, the Anthropocene-concept and the varying terminology that has been used to refer to it have become subjects of intense debate both inside and outside of academia. As of 2019, in addition to the dozens of academic texts published on the topic each year, the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin is entering its sixth year of programming on the Anthropocene, and the German Süddeutsche Zeitung has begun an article series on the topic.

Confronting the Anthropocene requires a profound epistemological shift. Because it denies the Western subject the ability to place herself in front of a neatly separate natural background, the Anthropocene-concept demands that we rethink the long-established axiomatic divides between humans and nature, global and local, living and non-living, and that we form new conceptual relationships with the spaces in which we live and of which we dream, from the manifold landscapes of the Earth’s surface all the way to outer space. 

This two-day graduate symposium will offer a critical geographical exploration of the Anthropocene by charting shifts in the ways that humans move through, dwell in, and dream of space and place in a world where our grasp on the nature of nature has been fundamentally shaken. The first day of the symposium will explore and challenge categorizations of extant spaces in light of new forms of consumption, disposal, interaction, and the effects of contamination and weather in the age of the Anthropocene. How must we rethink traditional landscapes, such as the desert, the forest, the city, the ocean, and outer space, in a time of radically shifting topographies? The second day will explore the question of what a critical geography for the future might look like. How can we re-dream and re-chart utopias and spaces of resistance in the context of a changing planet, and what might it mean to create a geography for tomorrow?

In this context, we especially welcome proposals from scholars and artists in masters and doctoral programmes that propose innovative perspectives addressing, but not limited to, the following themes: contamination, waste, flight, non-Western conceptions of space, and outer space.

Participants are welcome to submit an abstract (max. 500 words) of their planned contribution and a short biographical profile (max. 100 words) to atlasoftheanthropocene (at), by May 8, 2019. Presentations should take no longer than 30 minutes.


The symposium is open to those who wish to participate without presenting a paper.


If you wish to attend, we kindly request that you register at atlasoftheanthropocene (at)!




Friday, June 7
Room 2070A


Mapping the Present


10:00    Registration & opening with welcome coffee

10:30    Jörg Dünne (HU)  | Writing the longue durée: Foundational Fictions and the 

11:30    Hannah Schmedes | A Laboratory for Living Off-World: Re-narrating Biosphere 2

12:30    Lunch

13:30    Elodie A. Roy (Newcastle) | Recorded Sound and the Logic of Waste

14:30    Tomás Usón Pizarro | Remembering future disasters: Climate Change, 
             memory and anticipation in Andrean cities

15:30    Coffee Break

16:00    Marie Heinrichs | Navi/gated/gaze: The Privatization of Gaze

17:00    Benjamin Steininger (MPIWG) | Petromoderns and Hydrocarbons: 
             ‘Companion Substances‘ in the Anthropocene

18:00    END
Keynote: Lecture Hall 2097
18:30    Sarah Sharma (University of Toronto) | A Feminism for the Broken 
            Machine: Inhabiting the Techno-Logic of End-Times


Saturday, June 8
Room 2070A


Theory for the Future


10:00    Welcome Coffee

10:30    Ulf Häger | Mining in Outer Space

11:30    Petra Löffler (HU) | Resistance to Die? Geopolitics and Media Ecologies of 

12:30    Lunch

13:30    Jasmine Grace Wenzel | Ecolonizing: Insular Models of Space Appropriation

14:30    Tariq Jazeel (UCL) |  Postcolonial Geography in the Shadow of the

15:30    Coffee Break

16:00    xtro realm Artist Group | Unfolding a Speculative Terrain

17:00    ENDE


Organizers: Réka Patrícia Gál and Reed McConnell 

Contact: atlasoftheanthropocene (at)

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Dieses Symposium wird durch die Humboldt-Universitäts Gesellschaft (HUG) Verein der Freunde, der Ehemaligen und
Förderer e.V. unterstützt.
This symposium is sponsored by the Embassy of Canada to Germany. Graphic Look Embassy CMYK English 150dpi
This symposium is sponsored by the Humboldt-Labor.