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The Anthropocene as death trap and counterfeit currency (perish the thought)

Bush House North East Wing, Strand Campus, London

30 Jan dry earth Part of Human Geography seminars

Speaker: Professor Marcus Doel, Department of Geography, Swansea University

Professor Marcus Doel deconstructs the currency of the Anthropocene, both in terms of its timeliness and untimeliness, and also in terms of its libidinal economy. Although yet to debut in the official Geologic Time Scale, the term Anthropocene, often suspended from scare quotes (‘Anthropocene’), and pencilled in by the so-called ‘Anthropocene Working Group’ of the ‘International Commission on Stratigraphy’ as an epoch of mid-twentieth-century vintage, has nevertheless been put into licit and illicit circulation and usage in myriad contexts, many of which are far removed from chronostratigraphy and geochronology: everything from the biopolitics of carbon to the aesthetics of apocalypse.

 Unlike kindred geologic time-scale nomenclatures, such as the Quaternary and the Holocene, which are primarily of sectarian and special scientific interest, the Anthropocene ostensibly concerns us all and implicates us all, although not necessarily equally. In this would-be ‘Geological Age of Man,’ we are all expected to respond (preferably ‘response-ably’) to the call of the Anthropocene, if only with scepticism, indifference, and incredulity. Perish the thought.

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