CFP – "Thinking through ruination: theoretical and empirical approaches to the ruins of the Anthropocene" | Digithum Special Issue

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Call for Papers
June 1, 2023
Subject Fields: 
Social History / Studies, Sociology

Call for papers

Special Issue Digithum: Thinking through ruination: theoretical and empirical approaches to the ruins of the Anthropocene

Deadline:  June 1, 2023

Anthropocene; ruination; environment; industrial civilization


The notion of the Anthropocene, understood as a new geological epoch in which humans act as the principal determinants in altering the environment of the planet (Chakrabarty, 2009; Chernilo, 2017), has not only opened new – and often critical (Malm & Hornborg, 2014; Neckel, 2021; Swyngedouw & Ernstson, 2018) – avenues of social theorizing, but has also become an interpretative category to re-interpret societal and nature relationships (Delanty & Mota, 2017) evidencing new sides of the destructive forces of industrial civilization (Benjamin, 2019; Lowy, 2016). In the current conjuncture where presentist and future-oriented responses to ecological and energetic transitions are at their peak, it is worth asking for the obverse side of these transformations and restructurings by critically addressing what is left behind, since, as Chakrabarty notes, ‘the current crisis can precipitate a sense of the present that disconnects the future from the past by putting such a future beyond the grasp of historical sensibility’ (2008: 197).

This special issue aims to theoretically and empirically reflect upon the degenerative drive of industrialism, which is at the heart of the present-day ‘Anthropocene’. This attention to decay and/or decomposition does not take a nostalgic gaze but rather a comprehensive and critical one, inspired by Benjamin’s allegoric lens to ruins: as an emblem of the transitoriness and fragility of capitalist culture, but also of its destructiveness (Buck-Morss, 1991: 164) and excess (Abbott, 2014; Urry, 2010). Departing from the work of Ann Laura Stoler (2013) on ruins and ruination, this dossier invites contributions to look at ruins in relation to the climate crisis from multiple meanings – as a matter, process, metaphor, or verb, encouraging the discussion of the term itself with regards to alternative, similar ones (Gordillo, 2014). Likewise, we invite scholars from different disciplines to develop their insights on ruins from manifold angles and myriad forms – such as their endurance, transformation, risk, violence, abandonment, valuation, aesthetics, affect, disruption, or contestation –, as well as different temporal and spatial scales.

Guest Editor

Anna Clot Garrell

Lecturer and researcher, Universitat de Barcelona. ORCID:

Submitting your article

All contributions fitting the description above are welcome. Please follow Digithum's submission guidelines. For any technical issues, please contact For further information about the call for papers, please contact

About the journal

Digithum uses a relational perspective to analyse human's subjective experiences, social bonds and cultural heritage. Researchers from a range of disciplines, including sociological or social theory, historical sociology, sociology of culture and sociology of emotions, cultural theory, film theory, media studies, arts and humanities, may choose to address or study these matters from a relational perspective.

The journal is indexed in leading scholarly databases, such as Scopus, EBSCO, ESCI and WoS, DOAJ and Dialnet. Moreover, it was recently awarded the FECYT's quality seal for scholarly journals, a distinction promoted by the Spanish government. For more information, please visit the Indexing page of the journal.

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