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Beyond the Anthropocene

Un-Earthing an Epoch

Valerie Olson and Lisa Messeri

As “the Anthropocene” emerges as a geological term and environmental analytic, this paper examines its emerging rhetorical topology. We show that Anthropocene narratives evince a macroscale division between an “inner” and “outer” environment. This division situates an Anthropocenic environment that matters in the surface zone between Earth's subsurface and the extraterrestrial “outer spaces” that we address here. We review literature in the sciences and social sciences to show how contemporary environmental thinking has been informed by understandings of Earth's broader planet-scaled environmental relations. Yet, today's Anthropocene conversation draws analytic attention inward and downward. Bringing in literature from scholars who examine the role of the extraterrestrial and outer environmental perspectives in terrestrial worlds, we suggest that Anthropocenic theorizations can productively incorporate inclusive ways of thinking about environments that matter. We argue for keeping “Anthropocene” connected to its spatial absences and physical others, including those that are non-anthropos in the extreme.

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Home and Away

The Politics of Life after Earth

Micha Rahder

and new politics of expansion, exploration, and exclusion. Motivated by fears of looming environmental or sociopolitical disaster, including the Anthropocene, many extraterrestrial imaginaries rework earthly fantasies of technoscientific progress and

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When the Future Is Hard to Recall

Episodic Memory and Mnemonic Aids in Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival

Hannah Chapelle Wojciehowski

Denis Villeneuve’s 2016 science-fiction film Arrival presents a tale of first contact between humans and extraterrestrials. Giant octopus-like aliens arrive in enormous lozenge-shaped spacecraft and hover over twelve locations around the earth

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Back in Time Yet of His Time

Marty McFly as a 1980s Teenage Boy Role Model

Daniel Smith-Rowsey

boys than is often understood. Like many of them, Marty is prototypical of what I might call Generation Sample, using bits and pieces of every decade as he sees fit, as in one of his few moments of proactivity: “I am Darth Vader, an extra-terrestrial

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Daniel M. Knight

, perhaps it should be of no surprise that Star Trek helps people like Despoina contemplate their relationship with time, with stories of temporal paradoxes, cyclical and anomalous time, and time travel. For Despoina, the fictional exploration of extra-terrestrial

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Humans “in the Loop”?

Human-Centrism, Posthumanism, and AI

Nandita Biswas Mellamphy

philosopher David Gunkel question whether robots, machines, nonhuman animals, and even extraterrestrials might be conceived as an “other” for which humans may be morally responsible. Like their liberal sentimentalist predecessors, those such as Gunkel argue

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Buffeted by Political Winds

Children’s Literature in Communist Romania

Adrian Solomon

hibernation ( Moisescu 1963: 34–36 ). C ase 3 Innocuous contamination seeps even into a sci-fi story that moves back and forth between ancient civilizations of Earth and extraterrestrial worlds, where we are told that the Martian expedition had arrived on

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Ocean Thinking

The Work of Ocean Sciences, Scientists, and Technologies in Producing the Sea as Space

Susannah Crockford

, and in its deepest reaches, it becomes a model for extraterrestrial life ( Paxson and Helmreich 2014 ). The ocean as another world entirely calls for its own form of Foucauldian governance, a symbiopolitics as well as a microbiopolitics, “the

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Jaap Westbroek, Harry Nijhuis, and Laurent van der Maesen

. Paris : Gauthiers-Villars . . Dick , S. J. 2001 . Life on Other Worlds: The 20th-Century Extraterrestrial Life Debate . Cambridge : Cambridge University Press . 10.1888/0333750888/2713 Feynman