Explaining the Anthropocene (To Each Other): Conversations Across the Disciplines

Veronica Davidov's picture
Call for Papers
January 15, 2016
New Jersey, United States
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Environmental History / Studies, Geography, Literature, Public Policy

Explaining the Anthropocene (To Each Other): Conversations Across the Disciplines (An Earth Day Conference)

Discussions and debates about climate change put human presence at the center of the planetary transformations going on today. Increasingly, “Anthropocene” is a term that circulates in academic and even policy arenas, as some argue that the changes stemming from the epoch of humankind have been so profound in altering the atmosphere, polluting the oceans, and causing species extinctions on a mass scale, that it is appropriate to designate our age as a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene (derived from anthropo, for man, and cene for new).  But what do we mean when we use that term?  What does it signify in different disciplinary and policy domains? The Anthopocene debate, centering around the question of whether human impact on the planet is comparable to major geological events that have conventionally marked geological epochs, speaks to a number of questions and across a variety of disciplines in humanities, social sciences, and life sciences alike.  It has quantitative and qualitative dimensions, and in various contexts it may conjure questions of stratigraphy, historical ecology, or semiotics.  This one-day conference, scheduled for April 22, 2016 (Earth Day) seeks to bring together scholars from fields that include (but are not limited to) literature, cultural studies, anthropology, geography, geology, biology, and ecology and to provide a small-scale venue for various “cultures of expertise” that use the language of the Anthropocene to speak to each other in a multidisciplinary environment. Whatever the specific topic of the presentation is, it is our hope that the framing of it – for an academic audience outside of the discipline – will facilitate a greater understanding of the different dimensions of this term.


We are interested in papers that may engage (but are not limited to) the following topics:


  • Climate policy implications of the adoption of the Anthropocene as a formal geological unit
  • Pleistocene rewilding and the Anthropocene
  • Coastal communities and the crisis of Anthropogenic climate change
  • Historical perspectives on the Anthropocene? 
  • The Anthropocene and conservation ecology
  • Geological stratigraphy of the Anthropocene.
  • The Semiotics of the Anthropocene
  • The role of GIS in visualizing and narrating climate change
  • Ecocriticism and the Anthropocene
  • Environmental justice in the era of the Anthropocene
  • The role of geoengineering in the Anthropocene
  • Biomimesis and the Anthropocene
  • The Anthropocene in the media / on the web


If interested in presenting, please send a 300-word abstract by January 15th to vdavidov@monmouth.edu


Contact Info: 

Veronica Davidov, Department of History and Anthropology, Monmouth University