Simangan, Dahlia (2020) Where is the Anthropocene? IR in a new geological epoch. International Affairs 96(1): 211-224.
Open access here until April 2020.
Abstract. Several disciplines outside the natural sciences, including International Relations (IR), have engaged with the Anthropocene discourse in order to theorize their relevance and translate their practical value in this new phase of the Earth’s history. Some IR scholars have called for a post-humanist IR, planet politics, a cosmopolitan view, and ecological security, among other approaches, to recalibrate the theoretical foundations of the discipline, making it more attuned to the realities of the Anthropocene. Existing discussions, however, tend to universalize human experience and gravitate towards western ontologies and epistemologies of living in the Anthropocene. Within this burgeoning scholarship, how is the IR discipline engaging with the Anthropocene discourse? Although the Anthropocene has become a new theoretical landscape for the conceptual broadening of conventional IR subjects, this review reveals the need for sustained discussion that highlights the differentiated human experiences in the Anthropocene. The existing IR publications on the Anthropocene locates the non-spatial narratives of vulnerability and historical injustice, the non-modernist understanding of nature, the agency of the vulnerable, and the amplification of security issues in the Anthropocene. It is in amplifying these narratives that the IR discipline can broaden and diversify the discourse on the Anthropocene and, therefore, affirm its relevance in this new geological age.