On October 14 2022, social anthropology study program held a Visiting Lecturer: Studying the Phenomenon of the Anthropocene Epic from an Anthropological Perspective. This event also invited several anthropology lecturers from across universities as resource persons, including Prof. Dr. Pujo Semedi Hargo Yuwono, M.A. (Gadjah Mada University), Dr.phil., Dra. Toetik Koesbardiati, Ph.D (Airlangga University), and Dr. Dede Mulyanto, M.A. (Padjadjaran University). The anthropocene theme was raised because it is the world’s main concern, moreover the changes between the environment-the universe and the surrounding humans are very significant. For example, the explosion of the human population, the competition for economic growth in countries, the temperature of the earth’s surface is increasing, the loss of forest areas, the destruction of biodiversity, and others. Unfortunately, this crisis is not easy to mitigate because of its impact which will continue to occur continuously for several millennia in the future. Based on the picture of dramatic changes in the relationship between humans and the natural environment as above, the corridors of science, especially anthropology, should pay special attention to the unique phenomena of the anthropocene that occur globally.

After being opened by the Deputy Dean 1 of the Faculty of Cultural Sciences, Dr. Alamsyah, M.Hum., and the head of the social anthropology study program, Dr. Suyanto, M.Sc. then the presentation session was started by Prof. Dr. Pujo Semedi Hargo Yuwono. He explained the anthropocene phenomenon through case studies of changes at the micro-level of Muara Comal (Pekalongan, Central Java) between 1850 – 2020 which affected economic, environmental, social stratification and so on. The historical dynamics where initially the Comal area was no man’s land, then over time it was used as private plantation land owned by foreigners which also changed the sea level in the vicinity. However, changes in the use of this area also affect the culture and perspectives of the surrounding community, especially in the business sector and sentiments between social classes. From the historical traces of Muara Comal and the surrounding area presented by Prof. Dr. Pujo Semedi Hargo Yuwono, then we can realize that anthropocene phenomena have complex impacts and need to be reviewed using various perspectives.

In the second session, presentation from Dra. Toetik Koesbardiati, Ph.D, regarding the anthropocene is discussed through a different lens. He reviewed the anthropocene phenomenon with its relation to changes in nutrition and human quality of life. The rapid economic development accompanied by globalization has resulted in the F & B (food and beverages) is increasing. As a result, many Indonesian people are now suffering from obesity which then spreads to other health issues, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and so on. Food content that is high in fat, high in energy, high in carbohydrates and high in sugar in various ready-to-eat food products in the current era is one of the triggers for the emergence of these various diseases. In fact, to obtain balanced nutrition, the Indonesian people can take vitamins from local staple foods that are natural and minimally processed. This should become the concern of anthropologists because consumption preferences and the concept of health are related to the culture adopted by society.

In closing the event, Dr. Dede Mulyanto, M.A. explained his presentation in the last session of the Visiting Lecturer by giving an overview of the anthropocene from an anthropological perspective. He focuses on the role of humans/anthropos in the environment and as an actor who plays a major role in the changes in the universe in the anthropocene epoch. However, if studied historically, humans have become central in changes in the universe, not a new phenomenon. As evidence of the results of his research, the deforestation of the mountains of southern Bandung of 2000 hectares/year and the clearing of the rasamala forests (along with other tree friends and animals) since 1875 were carried out by native plantation workers who were paid cheaply by European plantation corporations. In addition, Dr. Dede Mulyanto, M.A. also invites us to think critically whether today we are dealing with the anthropocene or capitalocene epochs. Because within the framework of capitalism, the political economy, the environment is exploited for the sake of multiplied capital accumulation. The presentation then ended with an invitation to reflect on our position as human beings who take shelter in the universe through a number of thought quotes from Friedrich Engels.