Northwestern Events Calendar


Charlie Cobb, University of Florida: Crossing the Colonial Rubicon of the Anthropocene

When: Monday, January 29, 2018
3:00 PM - 5:00 PM CT

Where: 1810 Hinman Avenue, 104, 1810 Hinman Avenue , Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Contact: Nancy Hickey   (847) 467-1507

Group: Anthropology Department

Co-Sponsor: Alice Kaplan Institute for the Humanities
Environmental Policy and Culture
Environmental Sciences Program

Category: Lectures & Meetings


Explorations of the Anthropocene in the natural sciences frequently focus on transformative, anthropogenic tipping points, such as the origins of agriculture or the industrial revolution. The “Columbian Exchange” represents one of these points, with the era of European colonization spurring a dramatic wave of ecological change with the large-scale movement of plants, animals, and germs. From a longitudinal perspective, however, the social and environmental consequences of tipping points are strongly contoured by antecedent conditions. Current archaeological research on the ancestral Chickasaws (in northern Mississippi) demonstrates that profound climatic, ecological, and social shifts were already being experienced prior to the arrival of Europeans. The subsequent encroachment of French and English colonies modified—but did not necessarily initiate—significant trends in Indigenous historical ecology that had been unfolding for several centuries, and which continued to be largely shaped by the Chickasaws in response to the deer skin trade and other processes.

Co-sponsored by Program in Environmental Policy and Culture and Program in Environmental Sciences and the Kaplan Institute for the Humanities.

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