Program on Science, Technology and Society at Harvard

Harvard Kennedy School of Government | Harvard University

Anthropocene and Its Victims: How We Name Those Displaced by Environmental Changes

Francois Gemenne

Sciences Po/Princeton

April 24, 2015, 4:00pm-6:00pm
Weil Town Hall, BL-1, Harvard Kennedy School


This talk aims to provide an empirical take on what the Anthropocene means for the people who are first and most affected by environmental changes. If the Anthropocene represents the period in history when humans are the main agents of change on Earth, it also represents, for many, a time when the transformations of the Earth are main agents of change in their daily lives. Drawing from case-studies in small island states, in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina or in Japan after the Fukushima disaster, this seminar seeks to highlight how Western normative perceptions of agency, vulnerability and responsibility continues to reproduce the patterns of inequality that led to the Anthropocene.


Claire Stockwell

Harvard STS

Maximilian Mayer

University of Bonn

Aleksandar Rankovic

Harvard STS


François Gemenne is a specialist of environmental geopolitics and lectures on these issues in various universities, including Sciences Po Paris and Sciences Po Grenoble, and the Free University of Brussels (Belgium). He is currently a Visiting Research Scholar in the Program in Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. His research mostly deals with populations displaced by environmental changes and the policies of adaptation to climate change. He has conducted field studies in New Orleans (United States) after hurricane Katrina (2005), Tuvalu, China, Kyrgyzstan, the Maldives, Mauritius and Japan, after the Fukushima disaster (2011).