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Less Than One But More Than Many: Anthropocene as Science Fiction and Scholarship-in-the-Making

Heather Anne Swanson, Nils Bubandt and Anna Tsing

Keywords: co-species relations; conference review; environmental studies; field-building; genre; philosophies of nature; structures of feeling; transdisciplinarity

Abstract

How might one responsibly review a field just coming into being—such as that provoked by the term Anthropocene? In this article, we argue for two strategies. First, working from the premise that the Anthropocene field is best understood within its emergence, we review conferences rather than publications. In conference performances, we glimpse the themes and tensions of a field-to-come. Second, we interpret Anthropocene as a science-fiction concept, that is, one that pulls us out of familiar space and time to view our predicaments differently. This allows us to explore emergent figurations, genres, and practices for the transdisciplinary study of real and imagined worlds framed by human disturbance. In the interplay and variation across modes for constructing this field, Anthropocene scholarship finds its shape.

Affiliations

Swanson, Heather Anne - Aarhus University

Bubandt, Nils - Aarhus University

Tsing, Anna - Aarhus University