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<<  April 03, 2014   >>
Thursday, April 03
The Anthropocene, Slow Violence and Environmental Time, Rob Nixon
Rob Nixon is Rachel Carson Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

My talk engages two of the great crises of our moment: the Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene and the Great Divergence of increasing global inequality, two crises that are seldom articulated together. I identify the critical but concealed connections between these crises by engaging two scales of environmental time: the Great Acceleration of the Anthropocene and what I call slow violence. The Anthropocene marks a new epoch, defined by the fact that for the first time in history the impact of human actions are legible in every biophysical system on the planet. In short, the human species has altered the fundamental biophysical nature of the earth, not just the carbon cycle, but the warming and rising of the oceans, and ultimately the fundamental atmospheric climate of the globe itself.

Second, I elaborate what I call slow violence: the slow-motion environmental disasters that occur gradually and imperceptibly over time. My talk thereby complicates conventional notions of violence as bounded by instantaneous and spectacular moments of time and targeted at individual bodies.

In so doing, I address a third crisis: the urgent imaginative challenge currently facing both the humanities and the sciences, namely how writers and visual artists can embody environmental disasters in literary narratives and images, thereby making imaginatively perceptible and tangible to a broader public what scientists are establishing. In this way, my talk opens up possibilities for a more enabling collaboration between the humanities and the sciences.
This event is cosponsored with the Department of English.
Marx Hall 101  ·  4:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m.
Liquid Water at Interfaces: New Insights From Molecular Scale Studies, Ian C. Bourg
Ian C. Bourg, Earth Sciences Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Interfaces involving liquid water (water‐solid, water‐air, water‐hydrocarbon) are ubiquitous in the geosphere. They also play important roles in many water and wastewater treatment operations. An abiding question in the study of these interfaces is the manner in which the properties of interfacial water differ from those of bulk liquid water. This talk discusses new insights into the properties of liquid water at interfaces and the relevance of these insights to studies of adsorption and precipitation, molecular diffusion, interfacial redox reactions, colloidal aggregation, multiphase flow in porous media, dissolution of gases in groundwater, methane emissions from lake sediments, and cloud droplet nucleation.
Friend Center Room 006  ·  4:30 p.m. 6:00 p.m.