Mapping Loss in the Anthropocene

Sunday, November 8, 2020 - 2:00pm to Wednesday, December 16, 2020 - 12:00pm

Workshop Series Exploring Our Connection to Climate-Related Upheavals 

Mapping Loss in the Anthropocene is a Year of Creativity event co-sponsored by the Global Studies Center and the World History Center.  Students will have the opportunity to reflect on human-driven climate change and to create maps that capture or express their relationships to - changing sea levels, favorite natural locations, species impacts, affective responses -- it's up each participant how to engage this topic. 

Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh's World History CenterProvost’s Year of Creativity, and the Global Studies Center

November 8 - December 16, 2020 - Anthropocene: Epoch of Loss
This virtual workshop will be available for participation until December 16, the purpose of the workshop is to create a space for people to engage with their world through digital methods and art. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on human-driven climate change and to create maps and art that capture or express their relationships to the natural world while building digital and artistic skills. This workshop can be done entirely asynchronously. Please register here!

Please view the Schedule for additional information.

*Participation in the full series is encouraged, but not required*



Mostern Ph.D
Associate Professor, Department of History, University of Pittsburgh
Ruth Mostern is a specialist in spatial and environmental history focusing on imperial China and the world. Her research interests bridging the humanities, social sciences, information science and environmental science.
Heller Ph.D
Associate Curator, Anthropocene Studies, Carnegie Mellon University
Nicole Heller is Associate Curator of Anthropocene Studies for Carnegie Museum of Natural History. She is a transdisciplinary professional focused on improving cultural and ecological sustainability. Heller received her Ph.D. from Stanford University in Biological Sciences in 2005, and a B.A. from Princeton University in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology in 1995. She conducted postdoctoral research in the Environmental Studies Department at University of California, Santa Cruz. Heller’s primary research is concerned with understanding and promoting biological diversity in the face of global changes associated with the Anthropocene. Heller’s dissertation research focused on the ecology of a globally dispersed ant: the Argentine ant. Her work shed light on their social organization and interactions with climate and human systems, and how these factors combine to determine the ants’ rate of spread and impact.
Goodhart Ph.D
Director, Global Studies Center, University of Pittsburgh
Michael Goodhart is Professor of Political Science, and he holds secondary appointments in Philosophy and in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. His current research focuses on questions to do with global injustice and responsibility for injustice. He is also interested in thinking about new modes of political theorizing for the Anthropocene. His core intellectual interests are in the theory and practice of democracy and human rights in the context of globalization and in related questions concerning global justice, democratic governance, and political responsibility at the transnational level.
Grunewald Ph.D
Postdoctoral Fellow, World History Center, University of Pittsburgh
Susan Grunewald received her Ph.D. in History from Carnegie Mellon University in 2019. She specializes in Soviet and German history, especially related to the Second World War and the early Cold War. Her research focuses on German prisoners of war (POWs) in the Soviet Union from 1941-1956. Her research includes a GIS mapping project of the over 4,000 German POW camps that operated across the entire Soviet Union. Her digital research blends spatial and environmental history with archival findings from Russia, Germany, and the United States.
Katy DeMent’s papermaking class exposes students to the principals of science and history while actively engaging students in the process and techniques of papermaking.
Curator, University Library Systems, University of Pittsburgh
A key component of Boris Michev's work is the introduction of the new geospatial visualization technologies to faculty and students in the humanities. He believes outreach plays a major role in increasing the visibility of the ULS collections and services, and the opportunities that mapping and visualization software present. Outreach is also a way of engaging in the cultural discourse at the University, and at the local, national, and even international level. His digital expertise ranges from GIS and mapping (ArcGIS, Social Explorer, SimplyAnalytics, PolicyMap), data visualization (Tableau and ESRI StoryMap)

*This workshop is split up into multiple elements, which require completion for sucessful participation*


Mapping Loss in the Anthropocene: an Introductory Podcast – Michael Goodhart, Ruth Mostern, and Nicole Heller discuss and reflect on the Anthropocene as an epoch of loss.



GPS coordinates for geotagging your photosWatch a tutorial with World History Center Digital Postdoctoral Fellow Susan Grunewald.

Crankie ContraptionsWatch a video created by artist Katy Dement on creating a cardboard crankie, a kinetic sculpture powered by a simple crank slider mechanism.



Drifting – Walk mindfully and attentively through a landscape. Imagine its many pasts: before the Anthropocene, before colonization, before the Holocene. Take pictures and gather artifacts that help you to commemorate your thoughts. Look at images and maps on Historic Pittsburgh and think about changes to the landscape in past decades.

While drifting, collect found objects in the landscape (leaves, twigs, candy wrappers) that can be used for your crankie art project. And use GPS coordinates and geotagged photos for a digital project.

November 8 at 2 PM - Optional Drift in Schenley Plaza – Join us for a group drift around Pitt’s campus. Meet at Schenley Plaza under the pavilion. Don’t forget a mask and social distancing guidelines. Link to event here.

Pick up a crankie contraption kit during the drifting event or by another arrangement with the event organizers.



November 16 at 3 PM- ArcGIS StoryMaps – Use GPS and geotags to create a digital exhibit. Join Boris Michev for a virtual ArcGIS StoryMaps tutorial, or watch on your own.

Cardboard Crankie Contraption – Use artifacts you collected on your drift and images that you print out from Historic Pittsburgh or elsewhere to add to your crankie art project.


Visit Us

November 30 - December 3 - Drop in for virtual office hours to talk about your creation via Zoom.

Ruth Mostern on November 30 from 4 PM - 6 PM

Boris Michev on December 1 from 3 PM - 5 PM

Michael Goodhart on December 2 from 11AM -1 PM 

Katy Dement on December 3 from  3 PM - 5 PM 

Susan Grunewald on December 3 from 2 PM - 4 PM


Share - Deadline December 16

Share your work - Send a link to your ArcGIS StoryMap - and upload a video of your crankie creation to Box. We will display them as a digital exhibit on our website.


Sponsored by: University of Pittsburgh's World Hitory Center and the Global Studies Center    

Global Studies Center
Veronica Dristas