Features

Beach

Beaches are good places to think with about waste and ruination. They were once generically places of waste (in the etymological sense of “unoccupied, uncultivated”) while recognized as actants in processes of ruination—including erosion that produced their defining shingle and sand, the death and decay of what washes up on them, and the shipwrecks they induced. In the industrializing world …

Features

Residue

Waste and toxicity are foundational categories of knowledge for the Anthropocene. Consider how natural scientists approach the topic. Empirically, the “great acceleration” they’ve identified corresponds to a massive increase in human-generated wastes: carbon molecules, toxic chemicals, radioactive particles, plastics, and much more. Measuring molecular concentrations of these materials, and mapping these measurements onto models of earth systems (such as the …

Features

Toxicity, Waste, Detritus: An Introduction

Planet Earth has entered the time of the Anthropocene. For natural scientists, this means that human activity, taken as a whole, has come to rival geological and biophysical forces in its effect on the planet. Disturbing material comparisons communicate the deep weirdness of this fact. For example, there’s now enough concrete on the planet to produce a 2mm thick, full-scale …

Features

Humanitarianism in the Anthropocene

The decade has been conceptually rich for anthropologists. From multi-species ethnography to the practice of care, the past several years have seen a flourish of analytical concepts and theoretical preoccupations. Two key developments among these emergent and often-interlinked topics are anthropology’s focus on international humanitarianism and the Anthropocene. To date these two important research streams have not been linked. This …

Features

Conference Report: ‘Comment penser l’anthropocène?’ at Collège de France, Paris

November 5 & 6, 2015 – Conference Program and Videos

The two-day conference ‘Comment penser l’anthropocène?’ (‘How to think the Anthropocene?’) at the Collège de France in Paris brought together numerous scholars from natural and political sciences, from philosophy, anthropology, sociology, history and law. It was chaired by Catherine Larrère and Philippe Descola with the support of the patronage committee …

Books

Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s “The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins”

tsingcoverThe Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

by Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing

Princeton University Press, 2015, 352 pages

Yeah. What a nice book. Thank goodness there are feminists at the controls as we enter the ecological—which is to say, truly post-modern (note the hyphen) era. This is a profoundly nonviolent, and therefore …