Call for Papers
ASEH 2015, Washington, D.C., March 18-22
Panel: It’s the End of the World as We Know It: Environmental Governance in the Anthropocene
The Anthropocene describes a new geological epoch dominated by human-induced geophysical changes at all scales, from carbon emissions in the atmosphere to radionuclides in the Arctic. While the Earth’s departure from the Holocene has yet to be confirmed by the International Commission on Stratigraphy, scholars in numerous disciplines—including the environmental humanities—have adopted the concept to analyze the ecological, philosophical, and theoretical ramifications of the collapsing division between natural history and human history that began with the industrial revolution and accelerated rapidly after 1950. As eco-critic Timothy Morton puts it, global warming and other “hyperobjects” of the Anthropocene have brought about the end of the “world”—that is, the correlation between subject and object first explored by Kant and, later, challenged by relativity theory, quantum physics, and systems theory.
This panel invites papers that explore the implications of the Anthropocene for the writing of environmental history, especially with regard to our understanding of environmental values, environmental protest, or international environmental governance. Is our knowledge of the Anthropocene too new and speculative to be of interest to environmental historians, or does it invite new forms of deep history or environmental values that encompass the geophysical? Can historical investigations of the “environmental management state” be stretched to encompass resilience and adaptation to a post-Holocene world? How will the Anthropocene reshape ongoing debates about climate justice—what does it mean to speak of the “human” as a geological terra-former in a world divided by sharp inequalities of wealth and the legacies of imperialism?
Prof. John McNeill of Georgetown University will serve as commentator for the session.
Please send a 250-word abstract and brief biographical sketch by June 15th to Thomas Lekan at lekan[at]sc.edu.