Anthropocenic sublime: a critique
Jean-Baptiste Fressoz
10 May 2019, 18:00-20:00
Auditorium De Molen

With or without the capital letter commonly attributed to geological epochs, the word anthropocene has and will have its place in scientific journals, in dictionaries, in newspapers, and in the history of environmental sciences. Given the fact that it already circulates widely in the informal market of ideas, far beyond the academic world, in the arts, the media and even in political struggles, in short, given that the word anthropocene is already out there, why its formal recognition by stratigraphy seems so important? Why are we anxiously waiting for the decision of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, a venerable scientific body, but also quite obscure? The main reason is that the anthropocene concept is not a scientific discovery. It does not refer to a recent advance in our understanding of the functioning of the earth system. Although staggering, spectacular or grandiloquent, its strength is not conceptual, scientific or heuristic: it is primarily aesthetic.