Tuesday, April 9, 2019 - 5:30pm to 7:00pm
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Common Room, Center for the Study of World Religions, 42 Francis Ave., Cambridge

The Commonwealth of Breath: Climate and Consciousness in a More-than-Human World

Bridging environmental studies with philosophy and anthropology, entwining natural history with theology and psychology, Dr. Abram will counterpose the theoretical abstraction of much climate discourse by discussing a range of indigenous, place-based understandings of our planet’s atmosphere and climate. By listening close to the diverse ways that air, weather, and climate are spoken of by diverse indigenous oral traditions, we may begin to discern the elemental atmosphere in a far more palpable manner, as a sensuous yet enigmatic dimension of reality intimately bound up with human activity, with spoken language, and even with sentience itself—that is, with the full-bodied sentience not only of humans but of other animals, of plants, and of the animate earth itself.

David Abram--cultural ecologist and geophilosopher--is the author of Becoming Animal: An Earthly Cosmology, and of The Spell of the Sensuous: Perception and Language in a More-than-Human World. Described as “daring” and “truly original” by Science, and as "revolutionary" by the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Abram’s work has helped catalyze the emergence of several new disciplines, including the burgeoning field of ecopsychology. A close student of the traditional ecological knowledge of diverse indigenous peoples, David was the first contemporary philosopher to advocate for a reappraisal of "animism" as a complexly nuanced and uniquely viable worldview. He has been the recipient of numerous awards, and recently held the international Arne Naess Chair in Global Justice and the Environment in Norway. Dr. Abram is creative director of the Alliance for Wild Ethics (AWE), an organization dedicated to cultural metamorphosis through a rejuvenation of place-based oral culture--the culture of face-to-face and face-to-place storytelling. He lives with his family in the foothills of the southern Rockies.

Contact Name: 

Ariella Ruth

Harvard University
Center for the Environment

Address: 26 Oxford Street, 4th Floor, Cambridge
Phone: (617) 495-0368

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