New Humanities 1: Perspectives on the Anthropocene, Academic Quarter, vol. 25
Academic Quarter presents a new call addressing new perspectives on the Anthropocene in the humanities.
Deadline for abstracts: 15 January 2022
Five years ago, British writer Robert Macfarlane introduced us to “Generation Anthropocene: How humans have altered the planet for ever”. The Anthropocene denotes a new epoch of geological time in which human activity has such a strong influence on the planet that it will leave a geological strata record (Macfarlane 2016). The term goes back to the year 2000 with Crutzen & Stoermer’s article “The ‘Anthropocene’”. Macfarlane presents a large number of aesthetic responses to the Anthropocene, novels and films in particular, but he also sees it as a challenge to the humanities: “The indifferent scale of the Anthropocene can induce a crushing sense of the cultural sphere’s impotence.”
In a similar, and more recent blend of pessimism and call to action, Carolyn Merchant asks, “How, for example, is the air and water pollution associated with global warming reflected in history, art, literature, religion, philosophy, ethics, and justice?” (2020, p. x) She consequently lauds the emerging multidisciplinary concept of environmental humanities as necessary, her reason being that the humanities have not responded adequately to relevant questions: “today there are relatively few analyses of the Anthropocene as it relates to the humanities.” The humanities must be reconceptualized “in new ways that make them compelling for the twenty-first century.” (p. xi)
It is these challenges that the issue of Academic Quarter about the Anthropocene seeks to meet. We ask for new perspectives on the Anthropocene. How can the humanities throw a new light on the Anthropocene and articulate new perspectives on it, possibly from an activist standpoint? How to create “arts of living on a damaged planet” (Tsing et al. 2017)? Articles could for instance focus on themes and approaches such as dark ecology (Morton 2018), new materialism (Sanzo 2018), object-oriented ontology (O3) (Harman 2018), rewilding – virtual and real (Lorimer 2015; Jepson & Cain 2020), swamp theory (Sutherland 2021; Urbonas et al. 2022), (eco-) feminism and queer theory (for instance Grusin 2017), and de-colonialist perspectives (for instance Stenbeck 2020).
Aesthetic responses to the Anthropocene are already manifold, and there are also scholarly treatments of it and related fields. Examples are: Elizabeth Kolbert’s The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History (2014) and Field Notes from a Catastrophe (2006), Naomi Klein’s This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs the Climate (2014), Gaia Vince’s Adventures in the Anthropocene (2015), Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing’s The Mushroom at the End of the World – On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins (2017). The post-apocalyptic movie and computer game genres with locations of a collapsed and potentially lethal world are represented by for instance Cormac McCarthy’s The Road (2006), the Mad Max franchise, The Walking Dead streaming series, and The Fallout computer game series. Scholarly publications on the subject include Carolyn Merchant’s The Anthropocene and the Humanities. From Climate Change to a New Age of Sustainability (2020), Nomeda Urbonas et al.’s Swamps and the New Imagination. On the Future of Cohabitation in Art, Architecture, and Philosophy (2022), Alanda Y. Chang’s Playing Nature Ecology in Video Games (2019). The Anthropocene has been reflected and debated within the art institution, for instance with various events and research initiatives at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt since 2013, and Danish artists and artistic researchers such as Rikke Luther, Eva la Cour and Jakob Kudsk Steensen have worked with this theme, Steensen in his Berl Berl exhibition in Berlin 2021.
One challenge to the humanities is whether an activist approach may be expected from them, as contemporary environmental movements might reflect. In Underland: A Deep Time Journey, Macfarlane elaborates on the unique imaginative challenge posed by the Anthropocene and calls for “a retrospective reading of the current moment”, i.e. “a palaeontology of the present” (2019, p. 78) in which we confront ourselves from a distant future as “the sediments, strata, and ghosts” we have become, and ask ourselves the question (originally phrased by Jonas Salk, and pursued by strands of indigenous research): “Are we being good ancestors?” (p. 77) This call from Academic Quarter is the first of three serialized issues under the common theme “New humanities” from an active and committed standpoint.
This issue of Academic Quarter is dedicated to articles from the fields of:
- film, tv and media
- computer games
- museology and curating
- experience design
- organisation research
- human geography
- cultural anthropology
and other pertinent approaches and critiques of the concepts of the Anthropocene itself are also welcome. We especially value new perspectives on the antropocene from the humanities in a wide and inclusive sense.
Crutzen, Paul J. & Stoermer Eugene F. 2000. “The ‘Anthropocene’”. IGBP Newsletter 41. May 2000. 17-18.
Enderby, Emma (ed.). 2021. Jakob Kudsk Steensen: Berl-Berl. Berlin:
Lass & Koenig Books.
Grusin, Richard. 2017. Anthropocene Feminism. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Harman, Graham. 2018. Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything. Harmondsworth: Pelican Books.
Jepson, Paul & Blythe, Cain (2020). Rewilding: The Radical New Science of Ecological Recovery. London: Icon Books.
Lorimer, Jamie. 2015. Wildlife in the Anthropocene Conservation after Nature. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Macfarlane, Robert. 2016. “Generation Anthropocene: How Humans have Altered the Planet for Ever”. The Guardian, April 1, 2016.
Macfarlane, Robert. 2019. Underland: A Deep Time Journey. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
Merchant, Carolyn. 2020. The Anthropocene and the Humanities. From Climate Change to a New Age of Sustainability. New Haven: Yale University Press.
Morton, Timothy. 2018. Dark Ecology: For a Logic of Future Coexistence. New York: Columbia University Press.
Rimanoczy, Isabel. 2021. ”Anthropocene and the Call for Leaders with a New Mindset”. In: Ritz A. A., Rimanoczy I. (eds.) Sustainability Mindset and Transformative Leadership. Sustainable Development Goals Series. London: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-76069-4_6 .
Sanzo, Kameron. 2018. “New Materialism(s).” In Critical Posthumanism. Genealogy of the Posthuman. Posted On: April 25, 2018. Available at https://criticalposthumanism.net/new-materialisms/.
Stenbeck, Katarina. 2020. Forms of Entanglement. Omsorg og verdensskabelse i det antropocæne. Ph.d.-dissertation, Copenhagen University.
Sutherland, Dane. 2021. “A View from the Swamp.” In Enderby, Emma (ed.). 2021, 92- 104.
Tsing, Anna Lowenhaupt et al. 2017. The Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Urbonas, Nomeda, Urbonas, Gediminas and Sabolius, Kristupas (eds.) 2022. Swamps and the New Imagination. On the Future of Cohabitation in Art, Architecture, and Philosophy. Berlin: Sternberg Press.
Wright, Christopher, Daniel Nyberg, Lauren Rickards, and James Freund. “Organizing in the Anthropocene.” Organization 25, no. 4 (July 2018): 455–71. https://doi.org/10.1177/1350508418779649 .
Abstracts in English, Danish, Norwegian, and Swedish will be accepted. Abstracts and articles should be sent to Annemette Helligsø (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Please check our Submission guidelines: https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/ak/Submission
Submission of abstracts: 15.1.2022
Response to authors of abstracts: 1.3.2022
Submission of articles: 1.7.2022
Reviews will be sent to authors: 1.9.2022
Final articles submitted:1.10.2022
Layout copyedit: 1.11.2022
Publication expected: 1.12.2022
Abstract: 150 words
Article: 3,000 – 3,500 words
7–12 minutes. Detailed author guidelines and further information can be found on the journal’s website: https://journals.aau.dk/index.php/ak/index
- You are welcome to use the possibility of producing a video essay following these guidelines:
- Video essays should be 7-12 minutes long and accompanied by an academic guiding text between 1,000-1,500 words.
- The video essay should be of scholarly quality and may be argumentative (documentary) or symbolic (metaphorical) or a combination.
- The guiding text should clearly explain the argument in the video essay as well as the insight that the viewer may gain from watching it. This guiding text should follow the directions in the article style sheet.
- Video essays should be final and handed in as a separate mp4video-file. Academic Quartersupports only publication and not the technical development of video essays.
- Video essays and the guiding text will be reviewed together. Criteria for reviewing video-essays are a// the lucidity of the argument, b the technical and stylistic execution of the video material and c/ the clarity of the guiding text.