Marquette’s annual Casper Lecture to discuss climate change, the Anthropocene, April 22

April 19, 2024

Dr. Julia Adeney ThomasMILWAUKEE — Dr. Julia Adeney Thomas, professor of history at the University of Notre Dame will deliver Marquette University’s 20th annual Casper Lecture in history, "Frameworks for the Future: Climate Change, the Environment, and the Anthropocene," on Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m., at the Alumni Memorial Union.

Thomas will discuss the best concepts for talking about the destruction of the natural world. Her lecture will explore three ways of framing our planetary challenge, each with its own science, history and politics. While each framework has its uses, Thomas argues that the Anthropocene best captures the unprecedented, unpredictable reality of our altered Earth. The Anthropocene is the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.

This lecture is free and open to the public. No registration is necessary.

As an intellectual historian of Japan, Thomas writes about concepts of nature and the Anthropocene, political thought, historiography and photography as a political practice. Her publications include “Reconfiguring Modernity: Concepts of Nature in Japanese Political Ideology” and “Japan at Nature's Edge: The Environmental Context of a Global Power.”

Before joining the history faculty at Notre Dame, Thomas taught at the University of Illinois Chicago and the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She has also been a visiting scholar at the University of Bielefeld, das Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, the Universität Heidelberg in Germany, the University of Bristol in the United Kingdon, and the University of Michigan. She has also been a member of the University of Wisconsin Humanities Institute, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, and Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

The annual Casper Lecture was inaugurated by the History Department in 1993 to honor Rev. Henry W. Casper, S.J., a longtime member of the history departments at Creighton University and Marquette University, where he retired as professor emeritus in 1974. He was an expert in 19th century European History and American church history; his most important work was a three-volume history of the Catholic Church in Nebraska. The Casper Lecture, as well as several programs for graduate students in history, is funded by an endowment from Dr. and Mrs. Wayne L. Ryan of Omaha. Ryan was a student of Father Casper’s at Creighton.

About Marquette University

Marquette University is a Catholic, Jesuit university located near the heart of downtown Milwaukee that offers a comprehensive range of majors in 11 nationally and internationally recognized colleges and schools. Through the formation of hearts and minds, Marquette prepares our 11,100 undergraduate, graduate, doctoral and professional students to lead, excel and serve as agents of positive change. And, we deliver results. Ranked in the top 20% of national universities, Marquette is recognized for its undergraduate teaching, innovation and career preparation as the sixth-best university in the country for job placement. Our focus on student success and immersive, personalized learning experiences encourages students to think critically and engage with the world around them. When students graduate with a Marquette degree, they are truly prepared and called to Be The Difference.

About Kevin Conway

Kevin Conway

Kevin is the associate director for university communication in the Office of University Relations. Contact Kevin at (414) 288-4745 or