Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen

The idea of an Anthropocene has spread with astonishing speed, dislodging familiar terms like nature and environment from their customary preeminence as signs of the world beyond ourselves. These developments pose a peculiar challenge for those of us in anthropology. To be sure, everyone suddenly seems to share our concern for that singular creature, anthropos. Yet, the Anthropocene is a gift armed with teeth, with a hau of demands and reciprocal tethers that have left many anthropologists rightly cautious about embracing its tale of an overwhelming human agency. What would it take, we wonder, to see this time and its configurations, agencies, and effects otherwise? With this lexicon we hope to develop a resource that is helpful for this task.

This Theorizing the Contemporary series is meant to confront the challenge of vision and sensibility, of finding new ways of conceiving, engaging, and expressing the felt impasses of the present. It first sprung to life as a “pop-up” panel at the 2015 annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, with contributions emerging on the fly amid the tumult of an annual academic carnival. In that spirit of experimentation, we invite you to help populate this compendium of alternative vantages on the ecological present, to contribute your own keywords, musings, sounds, and visions.

[Editors’ Note, 9/30/16: We are pleased to share a third round of new entries to the Lexicon: Earths, Gluten, Industrialism, Leviathans, Models, Nemesis, Preparedness, Ruin, Steps, Sustainability, and Wildness. One last round will follow in the months ahead.]

Posts in This Series

Introduction: Lexicon for an Anthropocene Yet Unseen

Address

Carbon

Care

Cloud

Cosmos

Distribution

Dream

Earths

Ecopolitics

Environing

Expenditure

Flatulence

Generation

Gluten

Heat

Hyposubjects

Industrialism

Leviathans

Melt

Models

Nature

Nemesis

Petroleum

Photosynthesis

Plastic

Power

Predation

Preparedness

Probiotic

Relationships

Ruin

Shit

Species

Stability

Steps

Sustainability

Timely

Vulnerability

Wildness

Zoonosis