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New Course Spring 2022: POBS 1020

November 17, 2021

We are offering an exciting new course in the Spring of 2022, POBS 1020: "Anthropocene with Many Accents: Environmentalizing the Afro-Luso-Brazilian Triangle" taught by Prof. Pedro Lopes de Almeida.

Oftentimes, when we think about "the Anthropocene," we think about hyper-industrialized spaces, or remote locations whose culture, history, and politics we do not know much about. Have you ever considered deepening your knowledge about the social ecologies and the environment of specific places that you may or may not have studied before, while connecting that knowledge to the local stories/histories of these geographies? This course explores finer aspects of the cultural, social, ecological, and artistic landscapes of three historically interconnected Atlantic spaces: Angola, Portugal, and Brazil. Inspired by the concept of “Afro-Luso-Brazilian triangle” by the late Brown Professor Anani Dzidzienyo, we will foreground the intersectionality of struggles for the environment, racial and social justice, and gender equality, while introducing different perspectives on environmental thought. By acknowledging that we can learn from the experiences, testimonies, and fictional creations of local communities, literature, performance and the arts are central to this course. 

In POBS 1020 participants will expand their knowledge of literary, artistic, and performative objects originally produced in Portuguese, by authors from Angola, Portugal, and Brazil. While this course is offered in English (and all the materials will be provided in translation), the students will acquire in-depth knowledge of complex issues pertaining to these three Portuguese-speaking countries. In parallel, we will also develop critical and theoretical awareness, through readings of environment-oriented authors, with a focus on historically targeted or marginalized epistemological/cosmoecological traditions. Throughout this course, we will question the idea of “the Anthropocene'' as an entryway to reflect on our contemporary world, considered through the perspective of environmental humanities, how it can relate to “area studies,” and more specifically to Portuguese-speaking countries. Other topics guiding our discussions include the nature v. culture divide, the intersection of extractivism and coloniality, global warming and environmental displacements, degrowth paradigms, among others. This course aims at providing students with the tools and references to think through the 21st-century crises in a caring, sensitive, and ecological way, fostering original and creative approaches to our shared world. Students will be asked to develop collaborative projects based on specific local case studies relating to the topics of our discussions, engaging with communities, and conceptualizing creative answers to concrete ecological threats.

See the attached syllabus for more details.