Reading Anthropocene Science: Literary Templates and the Anthropocene Working Group

Reddick, Yvonne orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-7869-7560 and Caracciolo, Marco (2022) Reading Anthropocene Science: Literary Templates and the Anthropocene Working Group. Interconnections Journal of Posthumanism, 1 (2). pp. 39-56. ISSN 2564-260X

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In this article, we examine the way in which references to literary genres and tropes surface in the discourse surrounding the Anthropocene in both the sciences and the environmental humanities. Steve Bradshaw’s 2015 documentary Anthropocene, which features interviews with Anthropocene Working Group scientists, serves as our main case study. We argue that literary templates shape thinking about the environmental crisis, determine its ethical relevance, and create a highly significant affective trajectory. Put otherwise, the literary form of the Anthropocene matters. Our article discusses the limitations of these templates, particularly with regard to the role they assign to human agency and how they conceptualize the future of the environmental crisis. The final part of the article turns to artistic experimentations with narrative in contemporary prose and performance that break with existing literary templates. We suggest that science communication and education would benefit from closer engagement with these creative uses of storytelling.

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