Global Anthropo-scene: Rethinking Sustainability and Cultural Preservations

deadline for submissions: 
December 1, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Department of English, Jadavpur University




30-31 January 2024


A Two-Day International Conference

Department of English

Jadavpur University

Kolkata, West Bengal, India



In his Nobel-acceptance speech of 2000 AD, the chemist Paul Crutzen proclaimed, with a subtle frustration at the non-recognition of what he deemed to be obvious, “We are in the Anthropocene!” The emphatic nature of his demand to accept that statement of being in the Anthropocene emanates from the belief about the human species as a formidable force of nature itself and therefore the tapestry woven by human hands, their technological capacities (and limitations), the proliferation of their ideological impacts on the geological time and space should be recognised and treated as an independent and newer phenomenon and not simply as an extension to the Holocene period. This, however, remains a contested declaration. While a portion of the scientific community celebrates over the issue of the propriety of endowing human endeavors with such assured significance, the casualties formulated by human actions, the absolute deterioration of climatic architectures, the continuous extinction of various species and eco-systems, the melting ice caps of the poles, the rising sea-levels have rendered that debate over signification only a numinous word-play devoid of any substance.

That debate, therefore, is best relegated to the calculative sophistries of statistics and scientific models. But as students and practitioners of various academic fields, as a species perceiving the oblivion of its own homeworld, it remains our obligation to engage with the facticity of Anthropocene by questioning what it means to do literature or any creative action, for that matter, in the age of the devastating, incomprehensible changes originating, somehow, from human actions. Charles Darwin, the great Victorian scientist hailed as to have changed the distinguished humanistic projection of nature to one of the amorphous and acutely unbiased system of evolution, in his later years, pondered deeply over the evolutionary logistics of the beard: for him, the mystery of the beard could explicate the essence of the Man. Although the object of his study might seem trivial to us, the greater import of his rumination still applies. We, as tenants of a withering world, must ask the questions and investigate the problems of the Anthropocene from all imaginable standpoints.

One factor that, while talking about the Anthropocene, immediately entrenches our attention is that of environmental migration. But as Camelia Dewan warns in her essay on Bangladeshi migrant women, the problem of the climatic refugee is not and cannot be disassociated from the socio-historical readings or the gendered politics. Thus, the attributes of the Anthropocene produce an intricate network along with the cultural and political hierarchies, the anachronisms of human policy-making, and ideological impetus. The cosmic fabric of geological time is now punctuated by human historicity. In such a context, doing art cannot be a simple mnemonic act or a politically provocative gesture — human consciousness and its storytelling capacities are entwined with the unfathomable nature of the cosmos.

Literature and other arts must help now to adapt humans to the consequences of their actions and also with moral questionings of those actions. Artists like Wangechi Mutu, for instance, are doing exactly that — tracing back her native African mythological structures and evolving and contouring them to produce new meanings suitable for her political and environmental realities. Therefore, creative impulses in the Anthropocene is not simply an exercise in explaining and describing the disastrous aftermaths of war or deforestation, it does not simply consist of environmental preservation or the vivid enumeration of atrocities resulting from fossil fuels, it also requires us to question how the technology of storytelling brings about hope and redemption to the dislodged communities, the affected individuals, and also how in this anthropocentric oikonomia, the other, gods and animals for instance, can be introduced with sufficient dexterity and ethical justifications.

 This seminar will therefore address the nature of engagement with the variegated experiences of living in the Anthropocene, investigate into the fabric of the proposed geological era, and examine how various cultural, political, and economic stimulations engage and interact with this geological morphology. The importance of the Anthropocene, and its affective aftermaths are not simply limited to the environmental possibilities, but it embroils human lives in all their political and cultural associations. Our seminar intends to enquire about the cultural poetics, environmental policies, economic intricacies, and political formulations that are associated, affirms or problematises the ideas of the Anthropocene and how newer artistic forms can possibly grasp at this newer reality of the Anthropocene.

We are seeking proposals that engage with the following themes and encourage innovative interpretations, comparative analyses, and interdisciplinary explorations:


• The Anthropocene and the Gendering

• New literature and arts of the Anthropocene

• Has the Anthropocene ended and its consequences are inexorable?

• The ethics of the Anthropocene

• Does the Anthropocene spell the death of God?

• The Anthropocene and future(s) of life on Earth

• Alternatives to the Anthropocene

• Eco-justice and its possibilities

• Capitalist enforcement of the Anthropocene

• Literature and the ecological disaster

• Animals of the literature

• The problem of extinction of species and creative imagination

• Reviewing the past in the context of the Anthropocene

• Is the Anthropocene limited to only anthropo-scenes?

• Literature of/for the other

• Artistic engagements from affected communities

• Art as redemptive technology in the Anthropocene

• The Anthropocene and its Racial implications

• The Anthropocene vs. Post-Anthropocene

• Is the Anthropocene only the extreme of humanism?

• Human pride as hubris

• Literature as a way to counter rapid climatic deterioration

• The Anthropocene and the materiality of books

• Liberal Market economy and the Anthropocene

• History of the Anthropocene and its potential effects

• Is the Anthropocene anti-human?

• Possibilities of rehabilitation of environmental refugees


The thematic areas are representative and not limited.

Guidelines for Abstract and Paper Submission:

We seek abstracts within 300 words of your proposed paper and a brief bio-note (50 words) to gac.sustainability@gmail.comby December 1, 2023. Full-length papers (for a 10-minute presentation) must be submitted to gac.sustainability@gmail.comby January 10, 2024. The format and rules for submission will be sent after the selection of the abstracts. Selected papers will be published in an edited volume of a reputed publishing house.


Important Dates:

Deadline for Abstract Submission: December 1, 2023

Intimation of Acceptance: December 10, 2023.

Submission of Full-length Paper: January 10, 2024

Date of the Conference: January 30-31, 2024.


Please Note:

The conference will be a hybrid event only for participants residing outside India and will be allowed to make their presentations online.

Participants from India have to attend the conference in person.


Registration Fees Details:

INR ₹1500/- Faculty Members

INR ₹1000/- Research Scholars

INR ₹500/- UG and PG Students

$30/- or €25/- International Delegates


Please Note: No travel allowances or accommodation will be provided by the organisers. Registration fees include a conference kit, certificate, lunch, tea, and snacks.



Prof. Sonia Sahoo (Department. of English, Jadavpur University)

Prof. Saswati Halder (Department. of English, Jadavpur University)


For any queries please reach out to: