Anthropocene, Capitalocene, Plantationocene, Chthulucene: Making Kin

Donna Haraway

History of Consciousness, University of California, Santa Cruz, USA

from Environmental Humanities, vol. 6, 2015, pp. 159-165

There is no question that anthropogenic processes have had planetary effects, in inter/intraaction with other processes and species, for as long as our species can be identified (a few tens of thousand years); and agriculture has been huge (a few thousand years). Of course, from the start the greatest planetary terraformers (and reformers) of all have been and still are bacteria and their kin, also in inter/intra-action of myriad kinds (including with people and their practices, technological and otherwise).1 The spread of seed-dispersing plants millions of years before human agriculture was a planet-changing development, and so were many other revolutionary evolutionary ecological developmental historical events.

People joined the bumptious fray early and dynamically, even before they/we were critters who were later named Homo sapiens. But I think the issues about naming relevant to the Anthropocene, Plantationocene, or Capitalocene have to do with scale, rate/speed, synchronicity, and complexity. The constant question when considering systemic phenomena has to be, when do changes in degree become changes in kind, and what are the effects of bioculturally, biotechnically, biopolitically, historically situated people (not Man) relative to, and combined with, the effects of other species assemblages and other biotic/abiotic forces?  No species, not even our own arrogant one pretending to be good individuals in so-called modern Western scripts, acts alone; assemblages of organic species and of abiotic actors make history, the evolutionary kind and the other kinds too.

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At In Other Tongues, Paul Reid-Bowen will present his paper: Welcome to the Cthulhucene! Towards a new animist bestiary for the 21st century