For decades, Earth System scientists have warned that the climate change, biodiversity and other planetary boundaries will be irreversibly transgressed without timely changes. Over the last 20 years, the scientific warnings have been strengthened with an emphasis on the fact that too little action leads to augmented risks and tasks over time. On this backdrop, this chapter probes whether there is a sufficient sense of urgency in the humanities. We discus the prospect of assessing the urgency as an emergency with consequences for the way in which specialized debates in the humanities can proceed. Specifically, we offer an analysis that takes the sense of time and urgency as the central concern for the humanities in the Anthropocene. What we aim to explicate below is thus that the Environmental Humanities (EH) suffer from three epistemic problems: the idealization of slowness, the pursuit of conceptual thickness, and the embrace of posthumanism. These problems each embed academic practises of increasing prestige and power. We argue, however, that they are also obstacles in the attempt to bring the humanities up to speed with a new world. A world, which is not only undergoing accelerating geophysical changes, but which is also rapidly changing due to new technologies and political polarizations.
|The Anthropocenic Turn? The Interplay between Disciplinary and Interdisciplinary Responses to a New Age
|Udgivet - 2020