- by Professor Anna Tsing, University of California and AU
8 September 2022 at 16.00 - 18.00 pm
Aarhus University, Stakladen, Frederik Nielsens vej, bygning 1423
Rather than offer optimistic, if unrealistic, projections, this talk explores what has gone wrong in human-environment relations—and what we could still change. This talk shows how killer fungi have shaped human history, and, conversely, how humans have changed the histories of killer fungi. Exploring this mutual embrace, might we discover the structural roots of the biological catastrophe we call Anthropocene? The new fungal plagues emerge from the ecological simplification and crowding of commercial agriculture, on the one hand, and the speed and scale of trans-continental industrial transport, on the other. While pathogens have always moved around the globe, we are delivering them across great distances at extraordinary speed; hosts cannot keep up. Meanwhile, we build breeding grounds for pathogens in feedlots, plantations, and even human hospitals. Having lived through a (viral) plague, we might consider ways to push back the next one. This talk suggests features of contemporary “business as usual” that we would have to block.