09-14: Overextending Ourselves
On what terms should or can we endorse or accept growth? The human race is threatened by scarcity and resource depletion, overcrowding (in some areas) and depopulation (in others), and, eventually, extinction; nonetheless, it multiplies inexorably. Along with our growing numbers, we see rampant economic expansion as well as a new abundance of statistics related to our movements, activities, and communities. Can such advances in the measurement of humanity and its economies save us from our instincts? Might it be possible to rationally and fairly control and distribute resources? Should we actively limit economic expansion? How can we learn to rely upon, rather than exploit, the ecological commons—and, in so doing, shape the narrative of what is possible for future human association?
Maureen McHugh’s latest story collection, After the Apocalypse, was one of Publishers Weekly’s Ten Best Books of 2011. She speculated on the consequences of depopulation and de-extinction and on the possibility of terraforming Earth to ensure our survival.
Monday, May 20, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Journalist David Rieff is the author of books on immigration, international conflict, and humanitarianism. He speculated on the potential solutions to the world food crisis and detailed the serious difficulties that they face.
Saturday, May 25, 20133 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Benjamin Kunkel is a founding editor of n+1 and the author of the novel Indecision. He talked about the idea of “commonism,” or some institutions for an ecological and egalitarian society.
Thursday, June 13, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Joseph McElroy is the author of nine novels, including Women and Men and Cannonball, as well as a forthcoming nonfiction book about water. He outlined the elements of a new global ethos of water.
Friday, June 14, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Srikanth Reddy is the author of two books of poetry, Facts for Visitors and Voyager, which probes this world’s cosmological relation to the plurality of all possible worlds. He talked about a future in which the living outnumber the dead.
Monday, June 24, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)
Ted Nelson is an American philosopher and pioneering theorist of information technology, best known for coining the terms “hypertext” and “hypermedia.” His Project Xanadu, founded in 1960, anticipated the World Wide Web. He talked about the inevitable population collapse and offered a slim hope for civilization’s survival.
Friday, July 5, 20132 p.m seminar (no audio recording available)4 p.m. lecture (audio recording below)