Cultures of the Anthropocene


The arrival of the Anthropocene in the Humanities has unsettled some of the most dearly held concepts and assumptions of humanistic inquiry.  As a range of literary and cultural critics, historians, philosophers, legal scholars, digital media scholars, and others have noted, the mere fact that we can no longer speak of a division of human and nature has profound consequences for disciplines that have long foregrounded human history, thought, feeling, and cultural production.  This working group will bring together scholars to think through both the openings of this new environmental humanities as well as its conceptual, methodological, and political risks.  We will take up some of the broader problems of the Anthropocene--periodization, geologic life, extraction and fossil fuel futures, the relation of human and nonhuman natures, the dilation of temporal and spatial scales of analysis, and the aesthetics of the Anthropocene.  We are keen to maintain a focus on specific sites, cultural histories, and aesthetic practices that might not be so easily accommodated to the grand narratives and large historical sweep of the Anthropocene. As such our engagement with these themes will demand participants to remember race, sexuality, location, political economy, and subjectivity.  The “anthropos” therefore will be a central target of our analysis and critique.

Please contact one of the conveners for more information: Mathew Coleman (; Thomas Davis (; Mary Thomas (; Max Woodworth (