“After the collapse of human, of modern reasoning, this idea that the humans can stand outside of the world, command and control the world, we have become interested in this question of how humans are more entangled with the environment, so this is why islands rise to the fore. There is no longer this imaginary of the kind of western man who was above nature and everything is about sites of ongoing … island relational entanglements, and attunements and adjustments. Islands become these key figures for thinking through how the Anthropocene unfolds”
Dr. Jonathan Pugh
In this episode of A Correction, I speak with Dr. Jonathan Pugh about what is meant by the Anthropocene and he explains why islands and islanders, are centre stage in cutting-edge debates related to quantum theory, alternative energy, and science and technology in general. He explains the influence of Charles Darwin, and concepts of ‘resilience’, ‘correlation’, ‘algorithmic form’ and ‘entanglements’ in relation to islands and the Anthropocene. He also discusses how Caribbean literature and culture support a groundbreaking understanding of these issues and explains why we must move beyond resilience to critical thinking, which engages islands and islanders’ conceptualisation of life. We also talk about avoiding islands being exploited as ‘the canary in the coal mine’, and the benefits of islands becoming more archipelagic.
Dr. Jonathan Pugh is Reader in Island Studies, Department of Geography, Newcastle University, UK. He has more than 70 publications and is particularly noted for his work on the ‘relational’ and ‘archipelagic’ turns in island studies, disrupting the figure of the insular island. He has held a number of visiting fellowships, given international keynote addresses, and/or invited lectures, including at Princeton, Harvard, Virginia Tech, London, Cornell, Vienna, Zurich, Trinity College Dublin, Rutgers, California, University of West Indies and National Taiwan Normal University.
Jonathan’s present work examines how work with islands is playing an increasingly prominent role in the generation of wider approaches to critical thinking, knowledge, and policy practices associated with the Anthropocene (particularly in the prolific development of relational ontologies and epistemologies in opposition to modern reasoning). Establishing a platform for discussion and debate, in 2021 he launched the ‘Anthropocene Islands’ initiative (https://www.anthropoceneislands.online/). This includes a monthly reading group, dedicated section of Island Studies Journal, early-career study spaces, workshops, agenda-setting publications, and talks. The initiative gains its initial impetus from the book Anthropocene Islands: Entangled Worlds (Pugh and Chandler, 2021) free to download here https://www.uwestminsterpress.co.uk/site/books/m/10.16997/book52/ and the Dialogues in Human Geography paper Anthropocene Islands: there are only islands after the end of the world (Chandler and Pugh, 2021).
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