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Accepted Paper:

The Anthropocene as Problem, Proposal, and Provocation: the U.S. Climate Justice Movement and the (Post-)Humanities  
Thomas E. Bell (University of Kent) Miguel Alexiades (University of Kent)

Paper short abstract:

This paper is an initial concept note that juxtaposes two arenas for reckoning with the Anthropocene’s implications: the U.S. climate justice movement and critical scholarship in the (post-)humanities. We explore how ‘Anthropocene-reckonings’ are imbued with self-other relations of responsibility.

Paper long abstract:

At the heart of the Anthropocene is the thesis that humans are a telluric force affecting the world from the nanoscopic to the climatic and beyond. Originating in the geosciences, the Anthropocene has become an organizing and polarizing idea in the humanities and social sciences, raising as it does fundamental questions about the binaries, structural arrangements, and epistemologies constitutive of modernity. Such perspectives include critical engagement with the Anthropocene concept itself as scholars problematize the study of “the human” and interrogate the political-economic underpinnings of planetary (and unraveling) social-environmental crises.

Academic scholarship, though, is not the only arena for reckoning with the implications signaled by the Anthropocene as a problem, proposal, and provocation. Social movements across the globe are demanding systemic social transformation, demands that draw on political-moral imaginaries of what the world can be and should become. One influential example is the Just Transition Framework, a proposal within the U.S. climate justice movement for just and democratic transitions from fossil fuels. Using this as a case study, the paper is an initial concept note that begins to investigate what it means to juxtapose social movement perspectives with critical literature on the Anthropocene in the (post-)humanities. In so doing, we explore how such ‘Anthropocene-reckonings’ are imbued with self-other relations of responsibility with, to, or for different types of actor and entity. Taking this focus offers new perspectives on the critical question of who – or, perhaps, what – speaks for the Earth’s pasts, presents, and futures (Lövbrand et al 2015).

Panel P16a
Visions of transformation in the Anthropocene: technology, political-moral imagination, and the cascading socio-environmental crises of the twenty-first century
  Session 1 Thursday 9 June, 2022, -