Three new books on the Anthropocene coming out this spring

Several new titles on the Anthropocene worth checking out (plus the one I mentioned earlier this week). Here they are:

Great AccelerationThe Great Acceleration: An Environmental History of the Anthropocene since 1945J.R. McNeill, Harvard University Press.

The Earth has entered a new age—the Anthropocene—in which humans are the most powerful influence on global ecology. Since the mid-twentieth century, the accelerating pace of energy use, greenhouse gas emissions, and population growth has thrust the planet into a massive uncontrolled experiment. The Great Acceleration explains its causes and consequences, highlighting the role of energy systems, as well as trends in climate change, urbanization, and environmentalism.

More than any other factor, human dependence on fossil fuels inaugurated the Anthropocene. Before 1700, people used little in the way of fossil fuels, but over the next two hundred years coal became the most important energy source. When oil entered the picture, coal and oil soon accounted for seventy-five percent of human energy use. This allowed far more economic activity and produced a higher standard of living than people had ever known—but it created far more ecological disruption.

We are now living in the Anthropocene. The period from 1945 to the present represents the most anomalous period in the history of humanity’s relationship with the biosphere. Three-quarters of the carbon dioxide humans have contributed to the atmosphere has accumulated since World War II ended, and the number of people on Earth has nearly tripled. So far, humans have dramatically altered the planet’s biogeochemical systems without consciously managing them. If we try to control these systems through geoengineering, we will inaugurate another stage of the Anthropocene. Where it might lead, no one can say for sure.

Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalismdetail_779_anthropocene_capitalocene

Contributors include Jason W. Moore, Eileen Crist, Donna J. Haraway, Justin McBrien, Elmar Altvater, Daniel Hartley, and Christian Parenti.

The Earth has reached a tipping point. Runaway climate change, the sixth great extinction of planetary life, the acidification of the oceans—all point toward an era of unprecedented turbulence in humanity’s relationship within the web of life. But just what is that relationship, and how do we make sense of this extraordinary transition?

Anthropocene or Capitalocene? offers answers to these questions from a dynamic group of leading critical scholars. They challenge the theory and history offered by the most significant environmental concept of our times: the Anthropocene. But are we living in the Anthropocene, literally the “Age of Man”? Is a different response more compelling, and better suited to the strange—and often terrifying—times in which we live? The contributors to this book diagnose the problems of Anthropocene thinking and propose an alternative: the global crises of the twenty-first century are rooted in the Capitalocene, the Age of Capital.

Anthropocene or Capitalocene? offers a series of provocative essays on nature and power, humanity, and capitalism. Including both well-established voices and younger scholars, the book challenges the conventional practice of dividing historical change and contemporary reality into “Nature” and “Society,” demonstrating the possibilities offered by a more nuanced and connective view of human environment-making, joined at every step with and within the biosphere. In distinct registers, the authors frame their discussions within a politics of hope that signal the possibilities for transcending capitalism, broadly understood as a “world-ecology” that joins nature, capital, and power as a historically evolving whole.

Hope and Grief in the Anthropocene: Re-ceonceptualising human-nature relationsHope and Grief

Lesley Head

The Anthropocene is a volatile and potentially catastrophic age demanding new ways of thinking about relations between humans and the nonhuman world. This book explores how responses to environmental challenges are hampered by a grief for a pristine and certain past, rather than considering the scale of the necessary socioeconomic change for a ‘future’ world. Conceptualisations of human-nature relations must recognise both human power and its embeddedness within material relations. Hope is a risky and complex process of possibility that carries painful emotions; it is something to be practised rather than felt. As centralised governmental solutions regarding climate change appear insufficient, intellectual and practical resources can be derived from everyday understandings and practices. Empirical examples from rural and urban contexts and with diverse research participants – indigenous communities, climate scientists, weed managers, suburban householders – help us to consider capacity, vulnerability and hope in new ways.

 

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New Earth Politics: new book out soon on politics in the #Anthropocene

Details from MIT Press Here9780262034364

New Earth Politics

Essays from the Anthropocene

Overview

Humanity’s collective impact on the Earth is vast. The rate and scale of human-driven environmental destruction is quickly outstripping our political and social capacities for managing it. We are in effect creating an Earth 2.0 on which the human signature is everywhere, a “new earth” in desperate need of humane and insightful guidance. In this volume, prominent scholars and practitioners in the field of global environmental politics consider the ecological and political realities of life on the new earth, and probe the field’s deepest and most enduring questions at a time of increasing environmental stress. Arranged in complementary pairs, the essays in this volume include reflections on environmental pedagogy, analysis of new geopolitical realities, reflections on the power of social movements and international institutions, and calls for more compelling narratives to promote environmental action.

At the heart of the volume is sustained attention to the role of traditional scholarly activities in a world confronting environmental disaster. Some contributors make the case that it is the scholar’s role to provide activists with the necessary knowledge and tools; others argue for more direct engagement and political action. All the contributors confront the overriding question: What is the best use of their individual and combined energies, given the dire environmental reality?

Contributors
Erik Assadourian, Frank Biermann, Wil Burns, Ken Conca, Peter Dauvergne, Daniel Deudney, Navroz Dubash, Richard Falk, Joyeeta Gupta, Maria Ivanova, Peter Jacques, Sikina Jinnah, Karen T. Litfin, Michael F. Maniates, E. A. Mendenhall, Simon Nicholson, Kate O’Neill, Judith Shapiro, Paul Wapner, Oran R. Young

Jedediah Purdy on the Anthropocene, After Nature

I’ve mentioned Jedediah Purdy’s new book previously. It is an interesting read of American environmental politics and a comparison of different “environmental imaginations” that characterize iterations of U.S. environmental thought. I have my own take (now in press with New York University Press), but find Purdy’s provocative too.

Anna Tsing: A Feminist Approach to the Anthropocene

Erk Swyngedouw: Political Ecology and the Contested Politics of Urban Metabolism

CFP: Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Water

I’ve copied below the CFP for a special issue, see original here.

Special Issue CFP: Indigenous Peoples and the Politics of Water

Overview

[Feb 3, 2016] Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society invites articles from scholars, artists, activists, policy makers, and community members for a special issue of the journal exploring Indigenous peoples and the politics of water. Water is an ancient and sacred element of Indigenous epistemologies and ways of life. Water sustains, builds and inspires. In the contemporary context climate change, water security, and environmental destruction have captivated popular attention. A proliferation of scholarly and public works, as well as (inter)governmental working groups and summits, have emerged to address these interrelated issues.  We acknowledge the importance of these approaches to understanding and analyzing water. However, this issue is more concerned with the social and political properties of water than with identifying and articulating Indigenous “cultural” or “traditional” conceptions of water, or mainstream approaches that address water through frameworks of supply and demand, science, security, crisis, and scarcity.

Instead, we seek contributions that foreground critical historical, theoretical, and empirical approaches to understanding the politics of water. We contend that struggles over water figure centrally in salient concerns about self-determination, sovereignty, nationhood, autonomy, resistance, survival, and futurity that drive Indigenous political and intellectual work. In recent history, we have seen water assume a distinct and prominent role in Indigenous political formations. Recent examples range from the August 2015 Gold King Mine Spill, which dumped over three million gallons of toxic waste into the San Juan River and devastated Navajo farming communities in the northern part of the Navajo Nation to the continuing water struggles in California, and the water security issues that face First Nations peoples dealing with resource extraction in Canada. Indigenous peoples around the world are forced to formulate innovative and powerful responses to the contamination, exploitation, and theft of water, even as they are silenced or dismissed by genocidal schemes reproduced through legal, corporate, state, and academic means.

We also recognize that the politics of water is deeply intertwined with contemporary water security and policy issues that affect both Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples around the world. The responses and efforts to control water in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities have been consistently designed to serve the imperatives of settler colonialism. Indigenous analyses of these global issues in water politics are key–whether at grassroots, institutional, or governmental levels– to challenging, refusing, and revising the violence of such imperatives and building a better future.

This special issue stages a timely intervention into this urgent state of affairs, focusing on how water is taken up in fields of power conditioned by settler colonialism, normative Indigenous nationalisms, (neo)liberalism, Indigenous resistance, and capitalism. As an undisciplinary, open access journal dedicated to material struggles for decolonization, Decolonization is uniquely positioned for convening a collection of articles concerned with the invigoration of efforts to decolonize the genocidal politics of water. We seek contributions that address the politics of water in any number of diverse historical, political, tribal, or regional contexts. We also seek a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds, including environmental science, social justice, policy, literary, grassroots, activist, historical, and artistic approaches. However, we seek contributions that are characteristically rich in theory, research, critique, and analysis. Whether articulated through a politics of refusal, a critique of water law, or engagement with Indigenous epistemologies, we also seek contributions that advance a sustained and critical engagement with the idea and practice of decolonization. While you may choose to employ existing decolonial frameworks in your manuscript, we also welcome arguments that challenge the appropriateness of decolonization as a framework for understanding/interpreting water politics. Given the dearth of critical writings about this subject, we envision this issue as a landmark source for critical Indigenous perspectives on water that will generate vibrant discussion well into the future. Join us!

As part of this special issue, we will also be issuing a separate call for submissions (CFS) for a blog and online exhibit to accompany the more conventional article format outlined here. We see both halves of the special issue–the journal and the blog/online exhibit–as holding equal weight in making the special issue a success. We will begin to circulate the blog/online exhibit CFS in the early fall of 2016.

 

Guiding Themes for This Issue

 

  • Water and (settler) colonialism
  • Water and heteropatriarchy/heteronormativity
  • The politics of refusal
  • The politics of water settlements
  • Water as a social, cultural and political force
  • Water and comparative racializations
  • Water and resistance/social justice/resurgence
  • Water and capitalism
  • Water and (neo)liberalism/biopolitics
  • Water and violence
  • Water and power
  • Water and resource extraction (uranium, oil, coal, natural gas, copper, gold)
  • Water and state formation
  • Water and the law
  • Water and the ethics of tribal economic development
  • The politics of water security
  • Water and transnational/comparative configurations
  • The privatization of water
  • Water and urbanization
  • The politics of dams, reservoirs, and other diversion schemes
  • Water as a form of colonial dispossession
  • Water and the protection of sacred sites
  • Water and health/quality of life disparities
  • Water and agriculture/farming
  • Water and human rights/restorative justice/alternative paths for recourse
  • Water and youth
  • Water and art/cultural production/cultural politics
  • Water and militarization/policing
  • Water and fishing/treaty/customary rights

 

Deadlines & Submissions

  • Call for Submissions Published (February 2016)
  • Abstracts Due (April 4, 2016)

?      Abstracts should be between 300-500 words and include a title, author name(s), and a 150 word biography of the author(s)

?      Email your abstracts to crislingbaldy@mail.sdsu.edu and myazzi02@unm.edu

  • Submissions Due (August 31, 2016)

 

Contact Information

 

Cutcha Risling Baldy (Hupa, Karuk, Yurok)

Assistant Professor, American Indian Studies

San Diego State University

crislingbaldy@mail.sdsu.edu

 

Melanie K. Yazzie (Diné)

PhD Candidate, American Studies

University of New Mexico

myazzi02@unm.edu

 

A downloadable PDF version of this Call for Submissions can be found here.

 

For more information on Decolonization: Indigeneity, Education & Society, visit the journal’s website at decolonization.org.

Wendy Brown: Cultures of Capital Enhancement