Walking through multi-scalar temporalities in the Anthropocene
Dave McLaughlin (University of Reading)
Paper short abstract:
In the Anthropocene, everyday actions have deep time affects; yet this planetary moment is also defined by surging digital social connections, shrinking perspectives into an artificial here-and-now. I present Appalachian hikers' digital texts as an example of people negotiating this challenge.
Paper long abstract:
Times are changing in the Anthropocene. Our awareness of living through this life-altering epoch is changing how we think about time and space. Increasingly, geographers, scholars in the environmental humanities and across the humanities are talking about 'deep time'. Thinking about deep time means trying to think about how impacts of our everyday actions project across multiple temporal and spatial scales. Being aware of living in the Anthropocene demand recognising these multiple scales and how they entangle with everyday actions. Yet, as we live within this planetary moment, we are also experiencing an explosion of social connection driven by instantaneous digital communications. New modes of connection exert their own temporal and spatial pulls: technologies encourage the shrinking of our temporal and spatial perspectives into an artificial here-and-now; digital media platforms parcel-out experience and time into tweets, blogs, posts and other micro forms of representation. I engage with this problematic relationship between thinking in deep time, whilst being pulled by the digital imperative to live in the here-and-now of emails, blogs and tweets. I use a more-than-representational approach to examine digital writings created by hikers on the Appalachian Trail. This Trail, defined by its mountains, its history, and its precarious ecological futures, is a place where the multiple and varying scales of Anthropogenic and digital time and space are brought to the fore. I examine the ways in which hikers' digital texts attempt to negotiate their embodied experiences of multiple scales of time and space in Appalachia.
(Re)scaling the Anthropocene