HumanNature Series: ‘Feminist Botany for the Age of Man’

Bindweed plant Photographer: Mark Dixon © CreativeCommons - Some rights reserved
Thursday 12 July 2018
6.00 - 7.30pm

This event has passed


Hallstrom Theatre, Australian Museum, 1 William Street, Sydney, NSW, 2010


What does a “planthropocene”, a “vegetal futurity”, or even a queer botany look like? Join Catriona Sandilands on this adventure into the complex and fascinating worlds of plants.The idea of the “Age of Man,” aka the Anthropocene, is staked on the premise that human beings have come, at least since the Industrial Revolution, to control and influence the planet to such an extent that we collectively register, generally negatively, as a geological force. Sandilands complicates this very singular masculine, species-scale narrative of domination and destruction. Drawing from diverse stories of relationships between women and plants, Sandilands outlines a feminist botany that challenges the idea of the “Age of Man” as an epochal phenomenon, replacing the “Anthropocene” as the centre of attention with a more nuanced, feminist, multispecies understanding.

Catriona (Cate) Sandilands is a Professor of Environmental Studies at York University, Canada.

About the Series

From climate change and the sixth mass extinction event, to the pronouncement of a new geological epoch—the ‘Anthropocene,’ the age of humanity—we are increasingly being told that our contemporary period is one of incredible environmental change, and at the same time that human activity is playing an increasingly significant role in shaping the earth and its future possibilities.

In addition to being important scientific and technical challenges, these environmental problems are also profoundly and inescapably social: they are about how we organise our societies and our cities, how we approach questions of ethics and justice, how we find meaning and value in the world. In other words, they concern the deepest dimensions of our human nature, and in so doing perhaps call out for a reconsideration of what it might mean to be human in times like these.

Taking up these important themes, this lecture series will offer a series of talks by leading international scholars in the Environmental Humanities. This emerging, interdisciplinary, field of scholarship draws on the insights of history, literature, philosophy, anthropology, and related disciplines to explore the important roles that the humanities might play in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our day.

The inaugural, 2018, series includes nine esteemed international and domestic speakers. There is one lecture scheduled each month from February through to October. Further information on each of these speakers and their lecture topics is provided below.

Series Partners

This Lecture Series is jointly funded and coordinated by the Australian Museum, the University of New South Wales, Macquarie University, Western Sydney University, and the University of Sydney. The organising committee for the series is comprised of Thom van Dooren and Astrida Neimanis (Sydney), Emily O’Gorman (Macquarie), Judy Motion (UNSW), and Juan Francisco Salazar (Western Sydney).


Tickets for lectures in this series are available to staff and students at partner universities at the reduced rate of $8. Tickets must be purchased in advance online. Please click on “Enter Promotional Code” to apply the discount.

Promotional Code: ENVHUM18

Website: https://australianmuseum.net.au/landing/human-nature

6:00 – 6:30 Welcome, drinks and refreshments
6:30 – 7:30 Lecture