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AURA: Aarhus University Research on The Anthropocene. 

  • Discovering the Potential of Unintentional Design
  • on Anthropogenic Landscapes.
  • Niels Bohr Professorship and Project

Living in the Anthropocene

We have entered the Anthropocene - a new geologic epoch, defined by unprecedented human disturbance of the earth’s ecosystems.

The Anthropocene is a confusing age. At a time when humans have come to be a 'force of nature' that is instrumental in causing rapid, often unintended, changes to the earth they inhabit, nature in its classical sense is over. Nature itself has become a cultural side-effect, a side-effect full of unintended consequences.

At the heart of our confusion is the problem of unintentional design on anthropogenic, i.e. human disturbed, landscapes. Human projects do not always result in the landscapes of which we dream. Climate change is one example of unintentional design; new zoonotic diseases are another. As these examples suggest, we tend to imagine unintentional design as a danger to human survival. But what if anthropogenic landscapes were sometimes also sites of new designs for living—unplanned but still life-enhancing?

New approaches that cut across the conventional divide between the human sciences and the life sciences are required to consider these Anthropocene dilemmas.  "Living in the Anthropocene: Discovering the potential of unintentional design on anthropogenic landscapes" is a research project at Aarhus University that seeks to study these dilemmas.

Headed by Niels Bohr professor and anthropologist Anna Tsing, the project aims to open up a novel and truly trans-disciplinary field of research into the Anthropocene.  Applying insights and methods from anthropology, biology and philosophy, the  project will focus on the 'co-species landscapes' that humans and other species come to co-inhabit in the Anthropocene.  The projects suggests that a descriptive and trans-disciplinary approach is needed to understand the kinds of lives that are made and the futures that are possible in the ruined, re-wilded, and unintended landscapes of the Anthropocene.

Funded by the Danish National Research Foundation for a five-year period until 2018, the project started September 1, 2013

For more information, please contact:

Anna Tsing

Nils Bubandt

Project Secretary, Mia Korsbæk


Nils Ole Bubandt

Professor with Special Responsiblities
Office: bldg. 4236-120
Phone: +45 8716 2116

Anna Tsing

Office: bldg. 4235-136
Phone: +45 8716 2889

AURA Newsletter Archive

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Conference programme

2014.05.23 | Media coverage

Article from the Anthropocene Conference in Santa Cruz, May 8-10, 2014

The Anthropocene Conference in Santa Cruz that was a joint project between AURA and UCSC was a big success. Read the article about the event in the Santa Cruz Sentinel here.

2014.04.09 | Media coverage

AURA Highlights of 2013

AURA's highlights for the annual report to the Danish National Research Foundation

2014.04.04 | Media coverage

AURA på P1

Nils Bubandt fortalte om den Antropocæne tidsalder i P1's natursyn med Jens Olesen. Hør podcast af udsendelsen her

2014.02.05 | Calls


Postdoctoral fellowship for Aarhus University Research on the Anthropocene (AURA) Deadline April 15, 2014.

2014.01.26 | Media coverage


In order to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere it is necessary to make sure that carbon is stored on the ground to the greatest extent possible. But how do you qualify the potential of landscapes to stock carbon? Researchers now present the first continental-scale assessment of which areas may provide the greatest direct and…

2014.01.17 | Calls

AURA invites applications for PhD Scholarship

PhD scholarship in the field of the anthropology and environmental history of the Anthropocene. Deadline March 15, 2014.

2013.12.17 | Conference

Matters Out of Place: Landscapes of Absence and Dislocation

*CALL FOR PAPERS* Annual Joint UC Santa Cruz/UC Davis Anthropology Graduate Research Conference

2013.11.26 | Conference

Revisit the Aura Opening Conference

If you missed the opening conference, here is your chance!

2013.11.19 | Research news


Research project on the human impact on forests around the world

2013.10.31 | Research

The Anthropocene Project (Berlin)

Members of AURA participated in the recent opening event of the Anthropocene Project in the "Haus Der Kulturen Der Welt in Berlin". Click to see more about the Opening


Thu 30 Oct
10:00-17:00 | Building 1441, room 012
Open Lecture with Donna Haraway and Scott Gilbert
Professor Emerita in the History of Consciousness Program at UCSC Donna Haraway and Howard A. Schneiderman Professor of Biology at Swarthmore Scott Gilbert will be giving an Open Lecture.
Wed 21 Jan
14:15-16:15 | To be announced
Academic Hour with Thom van Dooren
Environmental philosopher and Anthropologist Thom van Dooren will be giving a public lecture at this Academic Hour
Wed 21 Jan
14:15-18:15 | Moesgård Allé 20, build. 4240, room 301
PhD Course: Storying lively worlds: Anthropology of the more-than-human
This Ph.D. course will explore modes of writing that draw anthropology into conversation with philosophy, biology, and a range of other disciplines to provide lively accounts of our more-than-human world(s). Lecturers: Thom van Dooren and Heather Swanson
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Revised 2014.09.11

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