The Anthropocene: Approaches and Contexts for Literature and the Humanities
Perhaps no concept has become dominant in so many fields as rapidly as the Anthropocene. Meaning "The Age of Humans," the Anthropocene is the proposed name for our current geological epoch, beginning when human activities started to have a noticeable impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems. Long embraced by the natural sciences, the Anthropocene has now become commonplace in the humanities and social sciences, where it has taken firm enough hold to engender a thoroughgoing assessment and critique. Why and how has the geological concept of the Anthropocene become important to the humanities? What new approaches and insights do the humanities offer? What narratives and critiques of the Anthropocene do the humanities produce? What does it mean to study literature of the Anthropocene? These are the central questions that this collection explores. Each chapter takes a decidedly different humanist approach to the Anthropocene, from environmental humanities to queer theory to race, illuminating the important contributions of the humanities to the myriad discourses on the Anthropocene. This volume is designed to provide concise overviews of particular approaches and texts, as well as compelling and original interventions in the study of the Anthropocene. Written in an accessible style free from disciplinary-specific jargon, many chapters focus on well-known authors and texts, making this collection especially useful to teachers developing a course on the Anthropocene and students undertaking introductory research. This collection provides truly innovative arguments regarding how and why the Anthropocene concept is important to literature and the humanities.
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