October 4, 2018 from 4 - 6 pm
Paige West, Columbia University
“A Prayer for the World: Imagining a Future in the Face of Climate Change, Dispossession, and Transformation”
Each new day, it seems, we wake to a barrage of terrible global news and horrifying images. This is particularly true with regard to climate news. It is enough to paralyze even the most empathetic and concerned citizens. In this lecture anthropologist Paige West asks us to consider what each of us can do as students, scholars, writers, and thinkers to understand the historical processes that set the conditions of possibility for our present world, to document or to witness the transformations of the present, and to use our scholars skills to work towards transforming the future.
Paige West is The Claire Tow Professor of Anthropology at Barnard College and Columbia University where she holds an endowed chair. Her broad scholarly interest is the relationship between societies and their environments. Since the mid 1990s she has worked with indigenous people in Papua New Guinea. She is the author of three books and the editor of five more. Dr. West is the founder of the journal Environment and Society, the chair of the Ecology and Culture University Seminar at Columbia University, a fellow (and past chair) of the Association of Social Anthropology in Oceania, and is the past president of the Anthropology and Environment Society of the American Anthropological Association. In addition to her academic work, Dr. West is the co-founder, and a board member, of the PNG Institute of Biological Research, a small NGO dedicated to building academic opportunities for research in Papua New Guinea by Papua New Guineans. Dr. West is also the co-founder of the Roviana Solwara Skul, a school in Papua New Guinea dedicated to teaching at the nexus of indigenous knowledge and western scientific knowledge.
Sponsored by the Engaged Humanities Initiative and the Institute for the Humanities.