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CHRG Seminar Series 2022 – James Dunk – Wednesday 27 April, 11am

James Dunk – Planetary Boundaries and Planetary Psychology: Beyond the Limits to Growth.

In 1972 the first Club of Rome report, Limits to Growth, invoked and further popularised a certain spatial logic in environmental governance: the human species must remain within a set of external limits. This logic was again invoked in the 2009 Planetary Boundaries framework: there was a ‘safe operating space’ for the human world. But a critique of this spatial thought emerged from within the limits framework, when three of the four original authors fed new data into their computer simulations for a 20 year update. Dana Meadows, lead author, saw that the human world’s lurch into the condition of overshot – an unsafe space – required an overhaul of the basic logic. There was no safe operating space for humanity until the internal boundaries that separated humans semantically and practically from other forms of life were torn down. What was needed, then, was a new psychology.

James Dunk is a historian of science and medicine currently working on the way the physical environment has figured in mental health and psychology. His first book, Bedlam at Botany Bay (NewSouth), is a study of mental health in colonial New South Wales, and his edited collection with Barbara Brookes, Knowledge Making: Historians, Archives and Bureaucracy (Routledge) explores the intersection of archives, paperwork, and historical narratives.

You can join us for this seminar in person at Burwood (C2.05.01) or Waurn Ponds (CIc2.108). You can also join via zoom by clicking this link at 11am on Wednesday 27th April.