September 18, 2024 (Wednesday) / 6:00 pm7:30 pm

Widener Lecture Hall, Penn Museum, 3260 South Street


Anna Tsing

Professor of Anthropology, UC Santa Cruz

Concrete is a material—and an adjective pointing to the physical existence of things. To be concrete is to have form in the material world. In this talk, renowned anthropologist Anna Tsing considers the material form of concrete as a building material, that is, the concreteness of concrete. Concrete repels water, and in the city of Sorong, Indonesia, where her current research has taken her, it calls forth floods, distributing mud. The concreteness of concrete is foundational to our current condition, stuck in the infrastructural lock-in of this dangerous time, the Anthropocene.

Anna Tsing HeadshotAnna Tsing teaches anthropology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and at Aarhus University, Denmark. Her most recent book (with Jennifer Deger, Alder Keleman Saxena, and Feifei Zhou) is Field Guide to the Patchy Anthropocene: The New Nature (Stanford University Press, 2024). This same team curated the mammoth digital project Feral Atlas: The More-than-Human Anthropocene ( Tsing is co-director of the Center for Southeast Asian Coastal Interactions (SEACoast) at UC Santa Cruz; she leads the center project, "Fragmented Porosity," which considers changing histories, livelihoods, and ecologies of the land-water interface.