2019 NTU Future Earth Lectureship

  • 17 December, 2019
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The topic of the first Future Earth Lectureship which includes 3 warm-up lectures was to consider the changes of earth systems from the perspective of social sciences. Prof. Peter Adey from Royal Holloway, University of London was invited to visit National Taiwan University to give lectures and attend workshops.

12/03 (Tue) 12:30~14:00
Topic: Introduction to Volume Geography
Speaker: Prof. Shiuh-Shen Chien
Venue: Room 101, Department of Geography

Prof. Shiuh-Shen Chien pointed out how contemporary human geography theorizes the earth system. The professor and students discussed how to define and conduct interdisciplinary research in natural and social sciences. For instance, when the earth systems are analyzed in the fields of humanities and social sciences, it is necessary to have a basic understanding of natural sciences to avoid analyzing errors or over-theorizing natural phenomena. Some students shared their own experience of conducting cross-disciplinary research. Through taking elective courses in natural or social sciences, they could enrich their background knowledge to solve the challenges they faced.  

12/04 (Wed) 14:30~16:00
Topic: When You Have Some Chemistry with Someone
Venue: Room 202, Department of Geography
Speaker: Prof. Chih Yuan Woon (National University of Singapore)

12/13 (Fri) 12:30~14:00
Topic: Geopolitics of Evacuation and Emergence
Venue: G202, Global Change Research Center
Speaker: Prof. Chih Yuan Woon (National University of Singapore)

Prof. Chih Yuan Woon introduced the origin and development of chemistry and social science in the context of the United Kingdom and the West. Teachers and students attending the lecture found out that geopolitics of evacuation and emergence are based on political geography and military studies. They further discussed why there is less in-depth research on issues related to emergency evacuation in social science community in Taiwan. In fact, there are many important issues related to this topic like typhoon, nuclear disaster, evacuation and military exercises. However, these issues are mostly studied from the perspective of disaster management in stead of from that of social sciences.  

12/17 (Tue) 15:30~17:30
Topic: The End: Imagining Earth Futures in Planetary Evacuation
Speaker: Prof. Peter Adey (Royal Holloway, University of London)
Venue: Room 305, Department of Geography

The purpose of the lecture was to challenge the perspective of contemporary scientists. Prof. Peter Adey explored the imagination of climate change in Western religions and Hollywood disaster films, for instance, why and how people evacuated from the earth and what actions people take to practice the concept of the great evacuation in the real world. In planetary evacuation, it is often imagined the earth as a broken environment and that people must rebuild a place for survival. Prof. Adey further discussed who is able to leave and who will be forced to stay, which is often related to Western Christianity: Only those who are chosen by God can be redeemed in natural disasters.

On the other hand, Prof. Adey mentioned that most science fiction and disaster movies have a single vision of the future. For example, in the movie “Interstellar,” mankind was faced with a food crisis due to climate change and diseases. Scientists tried to go to outer space to find habitable planets. They proposed plan A of immigration to another planet and plan B of colonization with human embryos. How do we imagine another version of planetary evacuation? In the movie “Wall-E,” Robot Walli was looking for reusable resources in the earth full of waste, which means it is possible to survive on the ruined earth. These cases could change our single vision of the future and  encourage us to think about the ethical relationship between people and other species.

Lectureship agenda


Dec 3-17, 2019


Department of Geography, National Taiwan University
Global Change Research Center, National Taiwan University


National Taiwan University Research Center for Future Earth
International Degree Program in Climate Change and Sustainable Development, National Taiwan University
Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University

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