A University of Oxford Podcast
about the Humanities & Existential Risk
Existential risks are events that could lead to human extinction or civilisational collapse. These events include runaway climate change, pandemics, nuclear warfare and artificial intelligence related disasters to name a few.
The study of existential risk has become a primary focus of academic institutions in the past several years — it is one of the main focus of institutions like Oxford’s Future of Humanity Institute, The Oxford Martin School and Cambridge’s Centre for The Study of Existential Risk. Study in this area has concentrated on contributions from the sciences, policy, law, economics and politics. The Humanities, however, also have a lot to offer.
This podcast will explore how the Humanities can contribute to the discussion, study and handling of those risks.
In each episode, we will talk in-depth with an expert in the Humanities, from Philosophy and English Literature to Theology and History, about their research on issues, including (i) artificial intelligence; (ii) nuclear warfare; (iii) climate change; and (iv) pandemics.
The project is run by a team of humanities graduate students at Balliol College, Oxford, from the faculties of Philosophy and History: Alice Evatt & Henry Tann. This series is sponsored by the Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities and the Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute.
Editor, Graphic Designer
Alice is a DPhil student in the Faculty of Philosophy, Balliol College, Oxford. Her main
areas of research and interest are applied ethics, climate change, and existential risk.
Faculty Website: philosophy.ox.ac.uk/people/alice-evatt
Henry is a DPhil Student in Medieval History at Balliol College Oxford. His thesis, ‘The first
capitalists and their horizons’, will explore the cultural history of Italian merchants in the
Late Middle Ages. He is also a keen bookbinder. The study of history is an urgent task. Forgetting and the selective memory of the past poses a further risk to humanity.
Many thanks to Brett Parris (MPhil in Classical Indian Religion, Balliol College, Oxford, 2018) and Aaron Robertson (MSt in Modern Languages, Balliol College, Oxford, 2018) for their contributions and research. This series would not have been possible without their input.
Why did North Korea nuclearize? Are we on the cusp of nuclear war with North Korea? Join us in the first episode of Alliance as we talk to Historian Cheehyung Harrison Kim about North Korea, nuclear weapons and existential risk.
A great thanks to our sponsors, without which this project would not have been possible: The Oxford Research Centre in the Humanities (TORCH); The Arts and Humanities Research Concil (AHRC); and the Balliol Interdisciplinary Institute (BII).
This project was the recipient of the AHRC/TORCH Graduate Fund 2017/2018.