Anthropocene Anthropology: Reconceptualizing Contemporary Global Change

Amelia Moore, University of Rhode Island


The Anthropocene is the scientific label given by earth scientists to the current epoch of unprecedented anthropogenic planetary change. The Anthropocene is also a political label designed to call attention to this change and evolving notions of agency and responsibility in contemporary life. This article critically explores what I call ‘the Anthropocene idea’ and the condition of ‘Anthropocene spaces’ through selected anthropological writing about recent planetary change and through analysis of current events in a specific ‘vulnerable’ location. By considering recent events in The Bahamas, I arrive at an orientation that I call simply Anthropocene anthropology. Rather than advocating for the creation of a new subfield of research, this mode of engagement offers an open-ended conceptual framework for the critical examination of the Anthropocene idea as it influences the symbolic and material realities of contemporary Anthropocene spaces.