Mittwoch, 30. Mai 2018, 17:00 - 18:30 iCal

Wednesday Seminar

Climate Change and the End-Times: Anticipating Apocalyptic Responses to Climate Change

Paul "Jim" Roscoe

Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie, HS-C
Universitätsstraße 7 (NIG); 4. Stock, 1010 Wien


Research on the human dimensions of climate change is heavily invested in economic and socioeconomic modeling, but human-environment interactions are manifestly affected by more than economic rationality. They are structured also by political, psychological, cosmological, and other domains of thought and behavior. These domains do not yield easily to the quantification and computerized modeling required to integrate behavioural inputs and outputs into natural-science models of the climate, but there is a growing recognition that mitigation and adaptation modeling

must take some account of “institutions and governance” and “broader societal factors” such as “worldview” (O’Neill et al. 2014:395-396). Worldviews and the behaviors they regulate are arguably the most intractable of human phenomena to model, but even in this domain progress may be possible. Although it has gone largely unremarked, people in many parts of the world are likely to interpret climate change in apocalyptic terms, as evidence that the End Times are at hand. This development is likely to pose major barriers to climate-change mitigation

and adaptation policy. Drawing from field research on New Guinea millenarian movements and anthropological and historical knowledge of apocalyptic cults, this presentation models how vulnerable major world religions and selected nations may be to interpreting and responding to climate change in apocalyptic terms.


Paul (“Jim”) Roscoe is Professor of Anthropology and Co-operating Professor of Climate Change at the University of Maine. He has conducted ethnographic fieldwork in New Guinea and has archival expertise in Ancient Polynesia. His research interests include climate change, warfare, the evolution of political leadership and political communities, and hunter-gatherer studies. His latest relevant publications include: “Method, Measurement, and Management in IPCC Climate Modeling,” in Human Ecology (2016) and “A Changing Climate for Anthropological and Archaeological Research? Improving the Climate Change Models,” in American Anthropologist (2014).

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Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie


Tabitha Schnoeller
Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie