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Skidmore College
First-Year Experience

Scribner Seminar Program
Course Description

Are We in the Anthropocene?

Instructor(s): Kyle Nichols, Geosciences

Have humans altered the Earth system to an "unnatural" state? Can we measure human impact in the geologic record? Does the view of humans’ impact on nature held by non-scientists influence the scientific approach to research? The answers to these, and many other related questions, are not clear. In this course we will explore the idea that human impacts have caused a new geologic time period, the ‘Anthropocene.’ An official designation as a new geologic time period has implications that extend far beyond the sciences and can inform other disciplines such as politics, economics, environmental studies, and ethics. We will learn about the interdisciplinary nature of this “geologic” time period by reading primary and popular literature, and listening to podcasts and lectures from many of the experts (natural science, social science, and humanities scholars) that are thinking about the meaning and the function of the ‘Anthropocene.’


Course Offered: