Tanner Lectures on Human Values: Adam Tooze (Columbia University) - The Last Dystopia: Historicizing the Anthropocene Debate in an Age of Multipolarity

Date & Time Nov 09 - 10 2023 4:30 PM - 6:30 PM
Location Friend Center
Adam Tooze
Angus Deaton
Peter A. Hall
Deirdre Nansen McCloskey
Pratap Bhanu Mehta
Audience Open to the Public

In the last 25 years the concept of the Anthropocene has emerged as a master category for thinking the contemporary environmental crisis. As much as it has energized the humanities and social sciences, the concept has been criticized for falsely postulating a collective human agent of environmental destruction. In the 2023 Tanner lectures, Adam Tooze will historicize this debate, placing it in relation to the struggle over global development. Born in the era of the first Cold War the vision of a comprehensive environmental transformation in the service of humankind needs to be placed now in relation to a new era of comprehensive global development, great power competition and polycrisis. 

Adam Tooze
Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Chair of History at Columbia University and Director of the European Institute, Columbia University

Adam Tooze holds the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Chair of History at Columbia University and serves as Director of the European Institute. His research, writing and teaching deal with the history of power in the modern age, especially how economic and military power are articulated by politics, ideology and expert knowledge, in the struggle to bring order and shape to the modern world.

He is a contributing editor for the Financial Times and a columnist for Foreign Policy. He is a prolific podcaster and writes the Chartbook Newsletter. His books have garnered many awards, and have been translated into over a dozen languages. They include "Statistics and the German State;" "Wages of Destruction: The Making and Breaking of the Nazi Economy" (2006); "Deluge: The Great War and the Remaking of the Global Order 1916-1931" (2014); "Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World" (2018); and "Shutdown: How Covid Shook the World’s Economy" (2021). In 2019, Foreign Policy Magazine named him one of the top Global Thinkers of the decade.

He taught previously at the University of Cambridge and Yale University.


Angus Deaton, Senior Scholar and Professor Emeritus, Princeton University

Angus Deaton is the author of “The Great Escape: Health, Wealth, and the Origins of Inequality,” “Economics in America: An Immigrant Economist Explores the Land of Inequality,” and, with Anne Case “Deaths of Despair and the Future of Capitalism.” His interests are domestic and international and include health, happiness, development, poverty, inequality, and how best to collect and interpret evidence for policy. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. He is a past President of the American Economic Association. His B.A,. M.A., and Ph.D. are from Cambridge University, and he holds several honorary doctorates from universities in Europe and the U.S. In 2015, he received the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel “for his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare.” He was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 2016.

Peter A. Hall, Krupp Foundation Professor of European Studies, Harvard University

Peter A. Hall is a scholar of comparative political economy who has written extensively about European politics, public policymaking, social science methodologies, and the role of institutions and ideas in politics.  He is the author of “Governing the Economy” and more than one hundred articles on these subjects, and the editor of eight books including “The Political Power of Economic Ideas,” “Varieties of Capitalism” (with D. Soskice), “Successful Societies” (with M. Lamont) and “Social Resilience in the Neoliberal Era” (with M. Lamont). His most recent publication is “Electoral Change and Political Coalitions in Western Democracies” (with G. Evans and S.I. Kim), and he is currently completing research for a book about how political economies change. Hall is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy. He holds two honorary degrees and has been awarded fellowships from many institutions, including the Guggenheim Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences and the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. 

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey, Isaiah Berlin Chair in Liberal Thought at the Cato Institute, Washington, D.C. and Distinguished Professor Emerita of Economics, History, English, and Communication at the University of Illinois, Chicago 

Deirdre Nansen McCloskey has written two dozen books, the latest forthcoming from the University of Chicago Press as “God’s Economy: Public Theology for an Age of Innovism,” and some five hundred scholarly and journalistic pieces in economic theory, economic history, rhetorical theory, philosophy of science, literary criticism, gender studies, theology, ethics, legal and political theory, and statistical theory and practice.  She taught from 1968-80 in economics and history at the University of Chicago, and has taught and visited widely, as at Erasmus University of Rotterdam and the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton.  A fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, she holds eleven honorary doctorates.

Pratap Bhanu Mehta, Laurance S. Rockefeller Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University and Senior Fellow at the Center for Policy Research

Pratap Bhanu Mehta is Laurence Rockefeller Professor for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton University and Senior Fellow at the Center for Policy Research. He was previously Vice-Chancellor of Ashoka University (2017-2020) and President, Center for Policy Research, Delhi (2005-2017). He has published widely on political theory, history of ideas, Indian Constitutional Law and Indian Politics. He is the author of “The Burden of Democracy” (Penguin 2003). He is (most recently) co-editor, with Madhav Khosla and Sujit Choudhary of “The Oxford Handbook to the Indian Constitution.” His book “Fables of Resentment” is forthcoming. He is also Honorary Fellow, St. John’s College, Oxford and Fellow of the British Academy. He was Convenor of the Prime Minister of India's Knowledge Commission (2005-2007) and member of India’s National Security Advisory Board. He contributes prolifically to public debates and is editorial consultant to the Indian Express. He is a winner of the Malcolm Adishesiah Prize, and of the Infosys Prize 2011. 

Princeton Media Central (livestream at start of event).


Bendheim Center for Finance
Center for Collaborative History
Department of Economics
Department of Philosophy
Department of Politics
Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies
Princeton School of Public and International Affairs
Princeton University Humanities Council
Princeton University Public Lectures
The Program in Journalism at Princeton