Rob Anderson received the Joff Hanauer Endowment for Excellence in Western Civilization Fellowship award. The award is intended to support students whose work fosters “creative and critical work in the Western cultural tradition and to help prepare teachers from different disciplines who have well-reasoned convictions about the place of Western civilization in the curriculum of an American liberal arts institution.”
As a critical geographer Rob describes his work as looking “at the intersection of political ecology and science studies, my research interests include examining the discourses and practices of environmentalism in a time of multiple, interwoven crises. These crises include both tangible, urgent, global environmental crises such as climate change and biodiversity loss, but also crises of identity and agency on the part of Western environmentalists. Rapidly-evolving anthropogenic changes to the Earth’s fundamental ecological systems and processes, in the epoch now commonly described as the Anthropocene, have challenged common-sense understandings of environmentalist objectives such as preserving pristine ecosystems, protecting endangered species, or repairing or mitigating human environmental impacts.”
The Joff Hanauer Graduate Fellowship provides Rob “an opportunity to critically examine the role of the human (and the traditions of humanism and the humanities), a category paradoxically reified and destabilized by the conception of the Anthropocene. In a time when all possible environmental futures look increasingly and irreversibly human-modified (that is, as the previously exclusive categories of Human and Nature are inextricably stitched together).” He will be looking critically at what is the role of the environmentalist, working and speaking on behalf of the “natural” world and is the Anthropocene the end of environmentalism?