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Public Engagement

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Happiness, Media, and Cultural Engineering in the Anthropocene

Monday, February 5, 2018 at 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm

Wollman Hall, Eugene Lang College 65 West 11th Street Room B500, New York, NY 10003

How can we transform the dominant culture in the Anthropocene, the ongoing age of humans defined by climate change? Matthew Schneider-Mayerson asks how the ultimate goal of an individual life in the modern world – happiness – fuels unsustainable environmental practices.

What kinds of alternate conceptions of happiness might be more ecologically productive as we face a time of turbulence? How can we apply the lessons of environmental communication and environmental psychology to forms of cultural production, such as literature and art, that are increasingly acknowledged to be critical areas for creative climate communication? Finally, can cultural interventions, such as public climate art campaigns, ecotopian lexicons, and climate justice choose-your-own-adventure novels, help reframe the way we see the world?

Matthew Schneider-Mayerson received his BA from Yale University and his PhD from the Department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His first book, Peak Oil: Apocalyptic Environmentalism and Libertarian Political Culture (University of Chicago Press, 2015), explores the American ‘peak oil’ movement in the context of contemporary responses to environmental crises (such as climate change), fossil fuel dependency and the spread of neoliberal ideals throughout American political culture. He is currently engaged in research projects on climate change fiction; the role of art and literature in the ongoing energy transition; and novel forms of happiness for the Anthropocene.

Sponsored by the Department of Culture and Media, Eugene Lang College.

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