University of Virginia, College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Panel on Climate Change & Historical Method | Amitav Ghosh, Julia Adeney Thomas, Ian Baucom

April 4, 2019


5.00-5.10pm: Welcome and Introduction

5.10-5.30pm: Julia Adeney Thomas, "The Multidisciplinary Anthropocene: Scales and Causes"

5.30-5.50pm: Ian Baucom, "History 4 Degrees Celsius: Of Forces and Forcings”

5.50-6.10: Respondent: Amitav Ghosh

6.10-6.45: Audience Q&A


Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta and grew up in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. He studied in Delhi, Oxford and Alexandria and is the author of The Circle of ReasonThe Shadow LinesIn An Antique LandDancing in CambodiaThe Calcutta ChromosomeThe Glass PalaceThe Hungry Tide, and the three volumes of The Ibis Trilogy; Sea of PoppiesRiver of Smoke and Flood of Fire.The Circle of Reason was awarded France’s Prix Médicis in 1990, and The Shadow Lines won two prestigious Indian prizes the same year, the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Ananda Puraskar. The Calcutta Chromosome won the Arthur C. Clarke award for 1997 and The Glass Palace won the International e-Book Award at the Frankfurt book fair in 2001. In January 2005 The Hungry Tide was awarded the Crossword Book Prize, a major Indian award. His novel, Sea of Poppies (2008) was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize, 2008 and was awarded the Crossword Book Prize and the India Plaza Golden Quill Award. Amitav Ghosh’s work has been translated into more than twenty languages and he has served on the Jury of the Locarno Film Festival (Switzerland) and the Venice Film Festival (2001). Amitav Ghosh’s essays have been published in The New YorkerThe New Republic and The New York Times. His essays have been published by Penguin India (The Imam and the Indian) and Houghton Mifflin USA (Incendiary Circumstances). He has taught in many universities in India and the USA, including Delhi University, Columbia, Queens College and Harvard.  In January 2007 he was awarded the Padma Shri, one of India’s highest honors, by the President of India. In 2010, Amitav Ghosh was awarded honorary doctorates by Queens College, New York, and the Sorbonne, Paris. Along with Margaret Atwood, he was also a joint winner of a Dan David Award for 2010. In 2011 he was awarded the International Grand Prix of the Blue Metropolis Festival in Montreal. 


Bringing critical theory to bear on questions of power in modern societies, Julia Adeney Thomas (University of Notre Dame) investigates concepts of nature in Japanese political ideology, the impact of the climate crisis on historiography, and photography as a political practice.  Her book, Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology, received the John K. Fairbank Prize from the American Historical Association in 2002 and her essay on wartime memory in Japan, "Photography, National Identity, and the 'Cataract of Times:' Wartime Images and the Case of Japan" in the American Historical Review received the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians' Best Article of the Year Award in 1999.  She brings her research interests into the classroom teaching courses that range from Neolithic Japan to politics and the environment, from comparative fascism to contemporary questions of photography's relationship with suffering.


Ian Baucom came to the University of Virginia after serving 17 years in Duke University’s Department of English as a professor and as the director of the John Hope Franklin Humanities Institute. Since arriving at UVA in the summer of 2014, Dean Baucom has led a series of initiatives within the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science from Wake Forest University and holds a master's degree in African studies and a doctorate in English, both from Yale University. Baucom is the author of Out of Place: Englishness, Empire and the Locations of Identity, and Specters of the Atlantic: Finance Capital, Slavery, and the Philosophy of History. He is the co-editor of Shades of Black: Assembling Black Arts in 1980s Britain.





Homer Statue
Wilson Hall 142
5:00 PM - 6:30 PM