ABOUT THE CONFERENCE
“Religious Perspectives and Alternative Futures in an Age of Humans” focuses on new ways of envisioning what it means to be human in the Anthropocene, or the Age of Humans. The Anthropocene is the proposed name for the current geological age, viewed as the period in which human activity has become the dominant influence on the planet. The conference is one of a series of public events in a multi-year, multi-university project, “Being Human in the Age of Humans: Perspectives from Religion and Ethics.” The project is funded by a Humanities Without Walls initiative on “The Work of the Humanities in a Changing Climate.” As with the project as a whole, the conference focuses on key themes within Anthropocene scholarship and discourse that have received insufficient attention. For example, the Anthropocene strongly resonates with mythic and religious genres – declensionist or ascendant storylines, tales of hubris, forbidden knowledge, theodicy, and eschatology. These religious, philosophical, and ethical dimensions make the Anthropocene ripe for analysis by theologians and scholars of religion, and scholars in many related fields. It is important to understand how Anthropocene narratives function as religious-like propositions about human nature and the planet. Because Anthropocene discourse problematically treats humans as a single force driving global change, there is also a need to articulate alternative understandings of agency and responsibility. Along these lines, the scholarship generated by the conference will help to highlight indigenous perspectives on the Anthropocene, as well as the unique knowledge systems and adaptive strategies of indigenous communities.