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Explorations in the Medical Humanities: Fire, Water, Moon

Public Humanities, Explorations in the Medical Humanities

February 8, 2018

Full Title: Fire, Water, Moon: Supplemental Seasons in a Time without Season, If the Anthropocene names the geological epoch defined by the radically destabilizing effects of human activity on geophysical processes, this talk asks about the continued relevance of other, relatively unchanged seasonal cycles and patterns of fluctuating intensities and regulated dearth and abundance (both cultural and geophysical). According to recent work on the Anthropocene, petro-extraction economies have messed up our relationship to the sun by liberating capital from dependence on the “yield of present photosynthesis” (Andreas Malm). At a time when climate scientists are declaring the end of “seasonality,” and when technology appears to have caught up with lyric’s power to expand and compress, accelerate and distort the diurnal rhythms determined by the earth’s relation to the sun, I turn toward the moon and the micro-seasons afforded by its monthly cycles as well as to other comparably stable, cultural modes of distributing abundance and scarcity across time. What is to be gained by opening up the concept of seasonality to these pluralizing, supplemental seasons within seasons, and what healing powers might they still afford?