Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented

Simon ZB (2017)
The Anthropocene Review 4(3): 239-245.

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Journal Article | Original Article | Published | English
Abstract
This paper argues that the tendency to invoke modern historical thinking in trying to make sense of the Anthropocene amounts to an untenable, self-contradictory, and self-defeating enterprise. There is a fundamental contradiction between the prospect of unprecedented change as entailed by the Anthropocene and the deep continuity of a processual historical change. On the one hand, conceiving the Anthropocene as the prospect of the unprecedented creates a demand for immediate action to prevent future catastrophe. On the other hand, pointing out the inequalities in the historical process of bringing about the Anthropocene creates a demand for social justice. Although both are legitimate and important demands, they are incompatible. They represent different temporalities, different conceptions of change, and different modes of action. Inasmuch as the Anthropocene appears as unprecedented, it does not have a processual history; and inasmuch as it has a processual history, it is not the Anthropocene.
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Simon ZB. Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented. The Anthropocene Review. 2017;4(3):239-245.
Simon, Z. B. (2017). Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented. The Anthropocene Review, 4(3), 239-245. doi:10.1177/2053019617742170
Simon, Z. B. (2017). Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented. The Anthropocene Review 4, 239-245.
Simon, Z.B., 2017. Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented. The Anthropocene Review, 4(3), p 239-245.
Z.B. Simon, “Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented”, The Anthropocene Review, vol. 4, 2017, pp. 239-245.
Simon, Z.B.: Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented. The Anthropocene Review. 4, 239-245 (2017).
Simon, Zoltán Boldizsár. “Why the Anthropocene Has No History: Facing the Unprecedented”. The Anthropocene Review 4.3 (2017): 239-245.
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