Dr Emma Foster (POLSIS)
The Anthropocene: Narrowing the discursive terrain of environmental politics
Wednesday 7th December, 4:00 – 6:00 PM, 420 Muirhead Tower.
University of Birmingham
With stratigraphers recently ‘christening’ the contemporary geological era the Anthropocene – an epoch where humans have become such a profound force on the planetary system that their presence is (or will be) indelibly marked on the Earth’s geological body – a debate around the promise and danger invoked by this term has developed across the social sciences. This paper intervenes in this debate and focuses on one key aspect, the contention that the Anthropocene narrative, by recognising humans as a geological force, holds the potential to reinvigorate environmental politics. In response, this paper argues that the Anthropocene terminology does not constitute a useful site for the reanimation of environmental politics and, instead, closes off political debate and reduces the environment to a matter of depoliticised techno-managerial decision-making that is underpinned by an overarching consensus to sustain, not the eco-system for itself, but business as usual.
About Dr Foster:
Emma Foster is a lecturer in international politics and gender. Emma’s research interests include Queer Theory, international sustainable development policy and development studies more broadly. She is currently researching the dynamics of constructions of gender in international environmental policy in relation to the economic crisis.