Education has never played as critical a role in determining humanity's future as it does in the Anthropocene, an era marked by humankind's unprecedented control over the natural environment. Drawing on a multi-sited ethnographic project among schools and activist groups in India and South Africa, this seminar explores education practices in the context of impoverished, marginal communities where environmental crises intersect with colonial and racist histories and unsustainable practices. It exposes the depoliticizing effects of schooling and examines cross-generational knowledge transfer within and beyond formal education. Finally, it calls for the bridging of schooling and environmental activism, to find answers to the global environmental crisis.
With reference to Sutoris’ 2022 book (embed URL http://www.petersutoris.com/educating-for-the-anthropocene), participants will consider how the onset of the Anthropocene challenges the very definition of education and its fundamental goals. The premise is that researchers must look outside conventional models and practices of education for inspiration if education is to live up to its responsibilities at this critical time. For decades, environmental activist movements in some countries have wrestled with questions of responsibility and action in the face of environmental destruction; they inhabited the mental world of the Anthropocene before much of the rest of the world. Sutoris will highlight an innovative research methodology of participatory observational filmmaking, describing how films made by children in the Indian and South African communities provide a window into the ways that young people make sense of the future of the Anthropocene. It is through their capacity to imagine the world differently that education can reinvent itself.