In-Class Lecture | Valerie Olson: Into the Extreme

Friday, October 28, 2022, 5 - 7pm

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Valerie Olson

This lecture will be conducted through Zoom. For Zoom attendance, please register in advance here.

The lecture is part of Prof. Lydia Kallipoliti’s ARCH 225-54/ARCH-485-58 Course: Advanced Topics in History, Theory and Criticism — Architecture and Astropolitics.

Based on seven years of fieldwork within U.S. space agency institutions and fieldsites, Into the Extreme: U.S. Environmental Systems and Politics Beyond Earth (University of Minnesota Press 2018) follows how U.S. government sponsored human spaceflight works with outer space as environmental space. It examines places on Earth where engineers, industrial designers, life scientists, and astronauts turn the solar system into an ecosystem, where “eco” encompasses ecology and economy.  These projects create “systemic” processes and technologies – including biomedical research, resource prospecting, and asteroid impact prevention – that relate space and Earth in new ways. These connections extend modes of systemic thinking and environmental imagination as well as forms of spatial and political control.  As spaceflight programs produce “extreme environment” operations that extend from outlying Earthly sites into space, extraterrestrial outer spaces become increasingly governable and exploitable.

The lecture will be followed by a discussion moderated by Lydia Kallipoliti.

Valerie Olson is an environmental anthropologist and Associate Professor at UC Irvine Department of Anthropology. Her research focuses on contemporary sociocultural processes that remake what count as environments and on how social groups use the system concept to perceive, organize, and control spatial relations, particularly on large scales and processes which are categorized as beyond human.

This event is open to current Cooper Union students, faculty, and staff. 

View the full Fall 2022 Lectures and Events List. 

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