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Heather Davis and Zoe Todd, “On the Importance of a Date, or Decolonizing the Anthropocene” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 2017, 16(4): 761-780

“Since we are not geologists, we cannot evaluate the dates for their stratigraphic accuracy or scientific merit. However, we would like to propose that this dating of the Anthropocene misses a valuable opportunity for evaluating the concept and opening it up beyond its current Eurocentric framing. Instead, we argue that placing the golden spike at 1610, or from the beginning of the colonial period, names the problem of colonialism as responsible for contemporary environmental crisis. If the Anthropocene is already here, the question then becomes, what can we do with it as a conceptual apparatus that may serve to undermine the conditions that it names? One could object that by dating the Anthropocene to colonialism we are undoing the critical and creative work that has been done to name the problem of colonialism and its power differentials because the Anthropocene, as a term, erases these questions of power. Indeed, many people in the humanities have pointed out the failure of the Anthropocene, as a concept, to adequately account for power relations. 4 Instead, all humans are equally implicated under the sign of the ‘anthopos.’ But rather than abandon the term because of these connections, we feel that the Anthropocene betrays itself in its name: in its reassertion of universality, it implicitly aligns itself with the colonial era. By making the relations between the Anthropocene and colonialism explicit, we are then in a position to understand our current ecological crisis and to take the steps needed to move away from this ecocidal path.”

davis-todd.txt · Last modified: 2017/12/22 18:10 by admin