Margret Grebowicz

(Techniques Speaker Series)

March 4, 2020
Doors Open at 5:00 pm
Talk at 6:00 pm

Arizona State University
Social Hall, Tempe, AZ


Margret Grebowicz is the author of Whale Song (Bloomsbury), The National Park to Come (Stanford), and Why Internet Porn Matters (Stanford), and co-author of Beyond the Cyborg: Adventures with Donna Haraway (Columbia). Her most recent articles and translations have appeared in The Minnesota Review, Environmental Humanities, The Routledge Handbook of Gender and Environment, Guernica, The Philosophical Salon, and The Atlantic.  She has held professorships at the University of Houston-Downtown and Goucher College. She currently teaches philosophy and environmental humanities at the University of Tyumen, Siberia, and is an affiliate of the University of Silesia, Poland. Her book in progress, Mountains and Desire, will be published by Repeater Books.


The Paradox of Altitude: Oxygen and the Limits of Human Performance

Just because someone has done it doesn’t mean it’s humanly possible.

For the past century, expedition doctors have been coming to the Himalayas in order to solve the mystery of altitude: is summitting the highest peaks without oxygen possible for the human body? A conclusive answer continues to elude them, despite over 200 no-oxygen ascents of Mt. Everest. Altitude remains a symbol of the high peaks as an experience at the limit.  A profoundly physical barrier, it nevertheless functions differently from other physical barriers, like the speed of sound or light. Thus, the problem of overcoming it is more than just physical, or even psycho-physical. And more than any of the other technologies available to climbers, supplemental oxygen has the power to change the environment in which the limits of the human body will reveal themselves. It provokes heated debate because it necessarily complicates the purity of that revelation.