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Thu, 15 Oct



Children and Carbon Cultures

A lecture presented in the context of the Posthumanities Research Theme in CHASS. Join Professor Anna Hickey-Moody for her lecture on Children and Carbon Cultures.

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Children and Carbon Cultures
Children and Carbon Cultures

Time & Location

15 Oct 2020, 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm AEDT



About the event

Prof Anna Hickey-Moody (presenting a paper co-written with Amy Cutter-Mackenzie, David Roussell and Sophie Hartley)

Carbon shapes the ways in which humans live and how we see ourselves. It is, of course, more than human. As such, any approach to thinking about carbon is necessarily a posthuman inquiry. We are entangled with carbon and carbon imaginaries. We are attached, entangled with systems run on carbon, with places geared to produce coal, with carbon heavy and carbon neutral objects and the more-than-human world. The concept of entanglement helps to show the relational nature of the what, who, how and where we are attached. As such, entanglement is considered a 'posthuman' concept. The word posthuman expresses criticism of the age of enlightenment and associated beliefs that predominantly white, male, European men and knowledges are the centre of our world. If the white, male, European man can be seen as the model of the human - or as 'humanism', then posthumanism is the story of us other humans: BIPOC, women, children, the disabled, LGBTQIA+, and our relational becomings with animals, lands, atmospheres, ideas. Posthumanism is a philosophy of the people and for the people: it makes space for everyday ways of knowing, it believes we are entangled and dependent and messy. It does not profess to have all the answers. In Braidotti’s description, “the challenge of the posthuman condition consists in grabbing the opportunities offered by the decline of the unitary subject position upheld by humanism, which has mutated in a number of complex directions” (2013, 50). Practices of carbon consumption and specific carbon imaginaries are entangled in children's lives. The worlds into which children are born rely on industrial and commercial carbon consumption. Until now, children's voices and agency have been omitted from discussions of carbon consumption and carbon cultures.

In this presentation, Anna Hickey-Moody examines posthuman perspectives on energy cultures and brings these together with data from her ARC future fellowship to map children's perspectives on carbon production and consumption. This work is long overdue, as children stand to inherit a precarious global climate that rests significantly on cultural practices, values, and understandings of carbon. Scientists predict that if the global mean surface temperature reaches 2.0°C higher than the pre-industrial period, we will see catastrophic effects for both ecological and human systems (Hoegh-Guldberg et. al. 2019). Global heating to this level will result in greater extremes in average temperatures, increased heat waves, extreme sea levels, heavy precipitation, flooding in some areas and drought in others, low-oxygen dead-zones in deep-water habitats, extreme weather events including wildfires and monsoons, and the spread of invasive species and disease (Hoegh-Guldberg et. al. 2019; IPCC 2019). In addition to the impact on ecosystems, human systems will be severely affected: drought, flooding and extreme weather events will affect food quality and quantity, human health, and in some instances force mass migratory movements (Hoegh-Guldberg et. al. 2019; WHO 2018; International Organization for Migration 2020). Given this urgency, and the impact climate change will have on the worlds of children today, their perspectives on carbon cultures must be considered as a matter of urgency.

Anna Hickey-Moody is a Professor of Media and Communication at RMIT University and an Australian Research Council Future Fellow 2017-2021. Her work on carbon cultures is widely sited and can be read in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities and her book  Deleuze and Masculinity (Palgrave 2019). Her other books include ‘Imagining University Education: Making Educational Futures’ (Routledge, 2016), ‘Youth, Arts and Education’ (Routledge, 2013), ‘Unimaginable Bodies’ (Sense Publishers, 2009) and ‘Masculinity Beyond the Metropolis’ (Palgrave, 2006).

Thursday the 15th October 4.30-5.30

Onscreen in Humanities 234 and online via Zoom

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