The aim of this panel is engage with the Anthropocene as a problem in need of creatively multiscalar, but ultimately planetary, governance. The Anthropocene, first popularized by scientists Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer (2000), has become a master narrative of environmental politics. It aims to denote the emergence of the human species as geophysical agents on a planetary scale. However, the Anthropocene and its associated sciences has thus far had mixed success, signaling an urgent need for engagement by scholars of global politics. While climate and earth systems sciences has alerted us to these global ecological problems, the data has been insufficient to foster significant global political action. No one is more aware of this than the scientists themselves. Biologist Paul Ehrlich, best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, goes so far as to argue that we do not need more natural science to tell us about climate change, but rather more work in the arts, humanities and social sciences to garner political action.
One panel theme might interrogate the Anthropocene itself on its merits as an economic, aesthetic, ethical and political project. For instance, the concept of the Anthropocene has provoked concerns that it uncritically imports Western rationality, imperialism, universalism and anthropocentrism (Haraway, 2014; Hornborg and Malm, 2014; Garrard, Handwerk and Wilke, 2014; Sloterdijk 2014). While taking these critiques into account, this panel hopes to also creatively explore other possible global narratives and projects. For instance, Donna Haraway (2014) has recently sketched out the alternative notion of the Chthulucene, which draws upon eco-evo-devo biology (ecological evolutionary developmental). What might a Chthulucene global politics look like? What are other possible scientific, technological, and artistic partnerships that would address the problems of the Anthropocene (climate, biodiversity, ocean acidification and rise, etc) and how would they function?
A related, and crucial, problem for Anthropocene politics lies in the difficulty of even imagining the space-time immensity of the processes in play. Dipesh Charkrabarty (2012) argues that “we cannot ever experience ourselves as a geophysical force – though we now know that this is one of the modes of our collective existence” (p. 12). Scholars of global politics, who have long studied the possibilities of global ethics and attachment, are thus uniquely suited to exploring this challenge.
I warmly welcome proposals that aim to address these concerns. Of special interest will be proposals that creatively imagine experiments in Anthropocene governance (whether institutionally, ethically, geographically or through art and design).
Please send your proposals with a title (up to 50 words), an abstract (up to 200 words), and authors to Cara Daggett at caranew [at] gmail.com by May 15, 2015.