How Nature Works Colloquium Sept. 28

SAR News:
SANTA FE  How does nature work? That’s the question posed by a Sept. 28 advanced seminar discussion at The School for Advanced Research (SAR).
Part of the SAR Colloquium Series on campus, seminar chairs Sarah Besky, Alexander Blanchette, and Naisargi Dave will lead the one-hour discussion at noon in the SAR Dobkin Boardroom that is free and open to the public.
“How Nature Works” aims to study the history, evolution, and future of labor and work that is attuned and accountable to the effects of climate change. Work—defined by John Locke as the act of altering nature to make it one’s own—has been framed as a uniquely human capability. This practice of altering nature has led to an irreversible point of no return: a damaged planet that we cannot fix with more work.
That being the case then, we must take seriously the capacity of the nonhuman world to work on us, against us, and perhaps with us. Proposing that the world is not so much “polluted” as it is “overworked,” this seminar explores not simply human work on nature, but instead seeks to develop a language for re-imagining how nature works on and/or with us.
Sarah Besky is assistant professor, Department of Anthropology & Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs, Brown University. Alexander Blanchette is assistant professor, Department of Anthropology, Tufts University. Naisargi Dave is associate professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto. Their presence on campus is part of SAR’s Advanced Seminars program, which promotes in-depth communication among scholars who are at a critical stage of research on a shared topic and whose interaction has the potential to provide new insights into human evolution, behavior, culture, creativity, or society, including critical contemporary issues.
This seminar is generously supported by the Mill Foundation. For more about the “How Nature Works” seminar or other scholar programs, visit or contact Maria Spray, scholar program coordinator at 505.954.7237 or
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