Robert Dearle, Department of English, Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Since being proposed as a replacement for the geological term Holocene in 1999, the term Anthropocene has gained popularity within academia and beyond. It has supplied energy not only for renewed discussions of humans’ impacts on and relationship to the Earth’s biosphere, terrain, and climate, it has also prompted fundamental questions about the viability of modern industrial society. For some, the Anthropocene signals an ontological rupture akin to finding oneself in a new world that is both familiar and strange, one dominated by processes that are human-driven but also—paradoxically—beyond human control. This presentation will explore the Anthropocene as concept, attitude, and aesthetic, with particular focus on its implications for the Humanities, literature, and the study of literature.