Video: Cristián Simonetti on ‘The Petrified Anthropocene’

Cristián Simonetti introduces the article ‘The Petrified Anthropocene

The Anthropocene is seen by many scholars across the sciences and the humanities as a tool for political action. Yet the validation process for this term appears to be extremely conservative. According to geologists’ leading efforts to formalize the term, signals need to petrify in stratigraphic sequences in order to become candidates to mark the start of the Anthropocene. I argue that this emphasis results from a fossilized view of becoming, where time is seen as a punctuated accumulation of solid surfaces that are accessible only in retrospect. I show that this petrified view of change relates to a tendency to divorce earth and sky, which currently divides the practices of humanities scholars and geologists, as well as those of earth system scientists and stratigraphers collaborating on the formalization of the Anthropocene. Challenging this tendency, I conclude, requires opening up earth’s history to the more-than-solid flows of environmental change.

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