Planet and Plot: Imagining Humanity in the Anthropocene

1 September 2019 until 1 September 2025
Project member(s)
B.R. van Meurs (Boris)
Project type

Because of humanity’s large influence on the entire planet, geologists have argued that we are now in the geological epoch of humankind: the Anthropocene. However, it is not clear how we can understand ourselves as geological agents, given the large time scales implied that dwarf everyday experience. In reply, it is often argued that the imagination could help making sense of the abstract geoscientific framework.

Departing from a collection of novels dealing with climate change, this project investigates if and how literature can give a figure to being-human in the Anthropocene. It explores how climate change novels innovate narrative’s formal elements such as plot, while it also challenges the status of fiction on a warming planet.

Ultimately, this project contributes to opening literary studies to ecological concerns, while it also defends the value of literature’s unique capacities to imagine otherwise what it means to be human in the Anthropocene.

Contact information