2013, Sat, Jan 12

Is the Anthropocene… Original?

John Law and Daniel Rosenberg

Dialogue between John Law (Department of Sociology, Open University, Milton Keynes) und Daniel Rosenberg (Department of History, University of Oregon, Eugene). Introduction: Cecelia Watson (Max-Planck-Institut für Wissenschaftsgeschichte, Berlin)


Simultaneously appearing as very old and very new, the Anthropocene seems to consolidate many ideas from different times and places. Echoes of both Enlightenment and Romantic philosophy can be heard in its precepts, especially in its consideration of mankind’s ability to act within the world. Scientists have acknowledged that the notion of the Anthropocene has clear historical precedents in 19th century geology. Nevertheless, conferences and discussions addressing the Anthropocene abound, leading to the sense that a theory has become trendy or en vogue. For both the humanities as well as the sciences, how are these intellectual coincidences with previous philosophical movements to be taken into account?



John Law (Milton Keynes) is a professor for sociology and the co-director of the Centre for Research on Socio-Cultural Change (CRESC), and director of the Social life of Method Theme within CRESC that is jointly based at the Open University and Manchester University. His research approach is interdisciplinary, materially and discursively heterogeneous; it is concerned with the performativity of method.


Daniel Rosenberg (Eugene, OR)is professor of history at the Robert D. Clark Honors College, University of Oregon. He specializes in questions of historical representation.With Anthony Grafton, he is author of"Cartographies of Time: A History of the Timeline" (2010) and with Susan Hardin, "Histories of the Future" (2005). He is editor-at-large of Cabinet: A Quarterly of Art and Culture. His current work concerns the history of data.


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