Climate and Culture: Thinking the Anthropocene, ca. 1800
In August 2016, the Anthropocene Working Group presented its recommendation to the International Commission on Stratigraphy to rename the present geological epoch the “Anthropocene” - the age when humankind has left its indelible mark on the surface of the planet. The current debates revolving around the concept of the Anthropocene, however, tend to lack a historical genealogy. In spite of antecedents (such as Stoppani, Vernadski, or Teilhard de Chardin), the awareness of humankind’s profound impact on the global climate and the Earth’s life system is often deemed to be a relatively new insight. This talk suggests to take a look at climate theories of the 18th and 19th century in order to reassess this notion and to avoid the shortcomings of the current debate. By examinig the relationship between climate and culture, writers such as Montesquieu, Buffon, and Herder establish a theory of how human cultures and their natural conditions of ecistence are being negotiated in different civilizations. And as early a by 1778, Buffon and Herder begin to grasp the role of humans in shaping and transforming climate. The talk will outline a genealogy of environmental reflexivity, in order to questioning some of the theoretical implications of the Anthropocene.
Solvejg Nitzke · 2. November 2016, 12:39 Uhr