Dr Josh Wodak

Dr Josh Wodak works at the intersection of the Environmental Humanities and Science & Technology Studies. His current research has three entwined strands: Technoscientific Conservation; MAD re CC; and Petrification.

The first, ‘Technoscientific Conservation’, addresses the ethics and efficacy of Synthetic Biology, Assisted Evolution, and Climate Engineering as proposals for responding to the climate crisis and the Anthropocene. This research is conducted with marine biologists, synthetic biologists, and conservation biologists, with a particular focus on the Great Barrier Reef and Artificial Coral Reefs in South East Asia. The research addresses what kinds of conservation experimentation are worth considering in response to the unfolding mass extinction.

The second, ‘MAD re CC’ concerns Music, Art, & Design re Converging Crises/Climate Change /Consumerism & Capitalism/Civilisational Collapse. This research explores how art and culture create affective ecological sensibilities for these ever-escalating crises. This includes the creation of original music, art, and installations that have been exhibited in art galleries, museums, and festivals across Australia and internationally.

The third, ‘Petrification’, develops speculative and philosophical thought about what it means to not only be alive during the current upheaval, but to be alive to upheaval itself. This research reframes human social and biophysical life as an emergent property that is always already at the behest of radical asymmetry and radical contingency. In short, ‘Petrification’ aims to articulate a new worldview for a new world coming, premised on fidelity to the vicissitudes of the cosmos.

Dr Wodak is currently a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University; a Chief Investigator at the ARC Centre for Excellence in Synthetic Biology; and an Adjunct Senior Lecturer, School of Biological, Earth, and Environmental Sciences, UNSW. Originally trained in Anthropology (University of Sydney, 2002, and Australian National University, 2011) his publications have appeared in Humanities; Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities; Environmental Communication; Transformations: Journal of Media, Culture and Technology; Music and Arts in Action; Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts; and Futures; and in edited volumes on the rhetoric of climate communication; the aesthetics of the undersea; transformative pedagogies about the environment; and environmental history.

Before joining ICS in 2020 he was a Lecturer at UNSW Art & Design; a Chief Investigator on the ARC Discovery Project 'Understanding Australia in The Age of Humans: Localising the Anthropocene'; and a Key Researcher of the Andrew Mellon Australia-Pacific Observatory in Environmental Humanities, Sydney Environment Institute, University of Sydney.

He is currently completing a book about these three entwined research strands.


Qualifications

  • Graduate Certificate, 2018, University Learning & Teaching, University of New South Wales
  • PhD (Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Research), 2011, Humanities Research Centre, Australia National University
  • Bachelor of Arts (Hon.) (Anthropology, 1st class), 2002, Sydney University

Research Focus

  • Environmental Humanities
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Philosophy of Science and Technology
  • Climate Change
  • Anthropocene Studies
  • Intervention Ecology
  • Conservation and Biodiversity
  • Creative Arts and Writing

Selected Publications

Book Chapters

Wodak, J 2020, Rupture, Rapture and Eruption. In Living with the Anthropocene: Love, Loss and Hope in the Face of Environmental Crisis, edited by Kirsten Wehner, Jenny Newell, and Cameron Muir. Sydney: NewSouth Publishing.

Wodak, J 2019,When Water Meets Oil: Rupturing Rhetoric and Reality in Energy Policy and Climate Science. In The Rhetoric of Oil in the Twenty-First Century: Government, Corporate and Activist Discourses, edited by Heather Graves and David Beard. London: Routledge, 72-89.

Wodak, J 2019, Siren and Silent Song: Evolution and Extinction in the Submarine. In The Aesthetics of the Undersea, edited by Margaret Cohen and Killian Quigley. London: Routledge/Earthscan, 180-190.

Wodak, J 2018,The Anthropocene as a Transformative Pedagogical Platform. In Transformative Pedagogies and the Environment: Creative Agency Through Contemporary Art, edited by Marie Sierra and Kit Wise. Berkeley: Common Ground Publishing, 185-212.

Wodak, J 2017,Artificial Coral Reefs. In Future Remains: A Cabinet of Curiosities for the Anthropocene, edited by Rob Emmett, Gregg Mitman and Marco Armiero. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 99-107.

Journal Articles

Wodak, J 2018,Popular Music & Depopulated Species: Probing Life at the Limits in Song and Science. Music and Arts in Action 6 (3): 3-18.

Wodak, J 2018,If a Seed Falls in a Forest: Sounding out Seedbanks to Sonify Climate Change. Unlikely: Journal for Creative Arts 3, no. 1 (special issue on ‘Art & Herbarium’).

Wodak, J 2017,Environmental Art as Remedial Action: From Meditating on to Mediating in Earth’s Energy Imbalance. Transformations: Journal of Media, Culture and Technology 30: 1-18. (special issue on ‘Concepts for Action in the Environmental Arts’).

Wodak, J 2017,Shifting Baselines: Conveying Climate Change in Popular Music. Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture 12 (1).

Wodak, J 2016,The Arts of Energy: Between Hoping for the Stars & Despairing in the Detritus. Humanities 5(2):1-21


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