The end of the end of nature:the Anthropocene and the fate of the human

Szerszynski, Bronislaw (2012) The end of the end of nature:the Anthropocene and the fate of the human. Oxford Literary Review, 34 (2). pp. 165-184. ISSN 1757-1634

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In this paper I explore the metaphor of the strata of the earth as ‘great stone book of nature’, and the Anthropocene epoch as its latest chapter. I suggest that the task of marking the base of the Anthropocene’s geological layer is entangled with questions about the human — about who would be the ‘onomatophore’ of the Anthropocene, would carry the name of ‘Anthropos’. I consider divergent ways of characterising the geological force of the Anthropocene — as Homo faber, Homo consumens and Homo gubernans — and situate this dispersal of the Anthropos within a more general dispersal of ‘man’ that occurs when human meets geology. I suggest that the becoming geological of the human in the Anthropocene is both the end of the great stone book of nature and the Aufhebung of ‘man’ — both his apotheosis and his eclipse.

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Oxford Literary Review
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06 Nov 2012 09:08
Last Modified:
21 Nov 2022 23:04