Logo Students

FOAR7005 – Research Theme 1: Living in the Anthropocene

2020 – Session 1, Weekday attendance, North Ryde

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, any references to assessment tasks and on-campus delivery may no longer be up-to-date on this page.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

General Information

Pdf icon Download as PDF
Unit convenor and teaching staff Unit convenor and teaching staff
Jessica McLean
Credit points Credit points
Prerequisites Prerequisites
Admission to BPhil/MRes
Corequisites Corequisites
Co-badged status Co-badged status
Unit description Unit description

Geologists are investigating whether we have entered a new geological epoch known as the Anthropocene in which humanity is a driving force of global environmental change. With human activities increasingly connected to processes of planetary degradation there is an urgent need for multidisciplinary research that overcomes traditional divides between physical scientists, social scientists and environmental humanities researchers. This unit offers an interdisciplinary and critical introduction to Anthropocene studies, an important area for current and future research. The unit focuses upon how we should live in the Anthropocene and respond to the knowledge that current socioecological practices are not sustainable. Some key themes include: histories of the Anthropocene; human-nature relations; social and environmental justice; Indigenous knowledges; non-human agency; environmental governance; activism and impacts. The unit is team taught involving leading thinkers from across the university. It is designed to be accessible to students from a wide range of backgrounds and incorporates considerable flexibility to steer assessments towards your research interests.

Important Academic Dates

Information about important academic dates including deadlines for withdrawing from units are available at https://students.mq.edu.au/important-dates

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • ULO1: Develop advanced multidisciplinary knowledge and understanding of the challenges posed by the Anthropocene.
  • ULO2: Identify and reflect on novel areas of research and engagement across human and non-human boundaries.
  • ULO3: Conceptualise links between Anthropocene issues and personal research interests.
  • ULO4: Develop and apply research design and practice skills that engage with emergent themes of the Anthropocene.
  • ULO5: Improve skills in written, verbal and conversational forms of research communication.

Assessment Tasks

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Assessment details are no longer provided here as a result of changes due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Students should consult iLearn for revised unit information.

Find out more about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and potential impacts staff and students

Delivery and Resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

Any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19.

Please check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status

FOAR703 will be taught through a series of two-hour discussion-based workshops hosted by researchers from across the University.  Students will be set required readings before the workshop and these readings will form the basis for in-depth workshop discussions.  The unit is supported by  an iLearn website – where readings and assessment instructions and criteria will be made available.  Please note that this unit requires compulsory attendance at the workshops.  Recordings of workshops are not available on iLearn.

Unit Schedule

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

The unit schedule/topics and any references to on-campus delivery below may no longer be relevant due to COVID-19. Please consult iLearn for latest details, and check here for updated delivery information: https://ask.mq.edu.au/account/pub/display/unit_status





24 Feb

Introduction to Living in the Anthropocene: possibilities and problems


Jess McLean


2 March

The Anthropocene is a very big deal! A historical introduction to the Anthropocene

David Christian 


9 March

Indigenous engagement with the Anthropocene

'Undermined' film

Jess McLean


16 March

Encountering the Anthropocene: recalcitrant natures

Donna Houston 


23 March

Debating the Anthropocene

Students lead


30 March

Building resilience in the Anthropocene

Peter Rogers


6 April

Living well with others: food in the Anthropocene


Andrew McGregor





27 April

Does Digital Information Represent an Existential Crisis for Humanity?


Michael Gillings 


4 May

Activating a digital Anthropocene


Jess McLean


11 May

Planet of cities


Greg Downey


18 May

Urban responsibilities in the Anthropocene

Sara Fuller 



25 May

Researching the Anthropocene

Jess McLean


1 June

Reflections and summary

Jess McLean

Policies and Procedures

Macquarie University policies and procedures are accessible from Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central). Students should be aware of the following policies in particular with regard to Learning and Teaching:

Students seeking more policy resources can visit the Student Policy Gateway (https://students.mq.edu.au/support/study/student-policy-gateway). It is your one-stop-shop for the key policies you need to know about throughout your undergraduate student journey.

If you would like to see all the policies relevant to Learning and Teaching visit Policy Central (https://staff.mq.edu.au/work/strategy-planning-and-governance/university-policies-and-procedures/policy-central).

Student Code of Conduct

Macquarie University students have a responsibility to be familiar with the Student Code of Conduct: https://students.mq.edu.au/study/getting-started/student-conduct​


Results published on platform other than eStudent, (eg. iLearn, Coursera etc.) or released directly by your Unit Convenor, are not confirmed as they are subject to final approval by the University. Once approved, final results will be sent to your student email address and will be made available in eStudent. For more information visit ask.mq.edu.au or if you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Student Support

Macquarie University provides a range of support services for students. For details, visit http://students.mq.edu.au/support/

Learning Skills

Learning Skills (mq.edu.au/learningskills) provides academic writing resources and study strategies to improve your marks and take control of your study.

Student Enquiry Service

For all student enquiries, visit Student Connect at ask.mq.edu.au

If you are a Global MBA student contact globalmba.support@mq.edu.au

Equity Support

Students with a disability are encouraged to contact the Disability Service who can provide appropriate help with any issues that arise during their studies.

IT Help

For help with University computer systems and technology, visit http://www.mq.edu.au/about_us/offices_and_units/information_technology/help/

When using the University's IT, you must adhere to the Acceptable Use of IT Resources Policy. The policy applies to all who connect to the MQ network including students.

Changes from Previous Offering

The Research Outline for the Anthropocene Field Project is no longer a formal assessment task.