# Anthropocene Unlexicon
## About this document
This collaborative, "unlexicon" document is edited as part of the ANSO220 "Land/Media/Anthropocene" class at Kalamazoo College, Spring 2020 (asynchronous, online class). It is edited by the course instructor, Dimitris C. Papadopulos and the ANSO220 students. Loosely based on the edited volume "Anthropocene Unseen: A Lexicon", edited by Cymene Howe, Anand Pandian, it critically revisits terms and concepts in the lexicon while also suggesting new terms, definitions and approaches of things we need to re-think and un-learn in the age of the pandemic.
Reece Jones states "There is little doubt that the hardening of the borders often has a direct negative impact on the environment in border areas." Later in the essay he adds "Because many borders are security zones, they tend not to be well maintained and often accumulate trash, debris, and the detritus left behind by previous migrants. Barbed wire and concertine wire are designed to snag clothing and human flesh, but they are also very good at capturing and entangling plastic bags. The wind and flowing water accumulate trash along the base of border infrastructure." Apart from that there are borders also create "pools of exploitable resources," like exploitable labor. We can then think about Macarena Gómez-Barris' "extractive zone" - as in Reece's argument borders become extractive in both human and non-human forms.
* Jones, Reece. “Borders, Climate Change and the Environment.” In Violent Borders: Refugees and the Right to Move. Verso Books, 2017.
* Gómez-Barris, Macarena. 2017. The Extractive Zone: Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives.
Aryn Martin, Natasha Myers, and Ana Viseu propose that a ***critical* practice of care** would “pay attention to the privileged position of the caring subject, wary of who has the power to care, and who or what tends to get designated the proper or improper objects of care."
Thinking about Jean François Lemoine's house in Bordeaux, France, and Guadalupe Acado - his housekeepers relationship to that house, we see the notion care changes, and becomes politicized in many ways but in a domestic sense. Mattern suggests this by asking: "How can we position 'care' as an integral value within the city’s architectures and infrastructures of criminal justice, designing systems and spaces for restoration rather than retribution?" Can we talk about the politics of care, and how deeply rooted is it in acrhitecture? I am thinking about the word *carechitecture* that combines space and care.
Reading through Mattern's maintenance and care she tells us about the ways in which we all rely on each other, caring for one another, for our communities, and for our world in both the physical and social sense. Throughut this reading, however, one question comes to mind: how do we ensure that we are all providing care equitably? With this pandemic we have seen that we clearly all don't care for each other in the same way. A CEO managing to make more and more money from the comfort of his mansion or penthouse clearly does not provide us with the same amount of care as a doctor, nurse, EMT, or any other essential worker. Furthermore, CEOs are compensated billions for doing nothing, while essential workers are barely getting paid for putting their lives at risk. How do we hold one another accountable to care for one another? How do we keep care flowing both ways? How do we restructure society so we all provide care and receive care in equitative amounts?
* "Care" by Charis Boke (pages 71 - 77) in "Anthropocene Unseen: a Lexicon"
* Mattern, Shannon. 2018. “Maintenance and Care.” Places Journal, November. https://doi.org/10.22269/181120.
* Abigail H. Neely and Patricia J. Lopez, “Care in the Time of Covid-19.” 2020. Antipode Online (blog). March 10, 2020. https://antipodeonline.org/2020/03/10/care-in-the-time-of-covid-19/.
We have been talking about the term "anthropocene" for a few weeks now. However, the countless issues we face in the so called "anthropocene" seem to be cause less so by "normal people", but by people with extreme amounts of power, wealth, greed, and disregard for other people, the world, and other living beings. It seems to me that these problems are more problems with the era of capitalism than problems with the era of humans. Humans have been around for thousands of years, but these problems really just started to appear a few hundred ago, and got muchworse a few decades ago. Jason Moore (2017) introduces the term "capitalocene", which I think is a better description of the world today - a capitalism-centered planet, rather than a human-centered planet. Moore argues that "the Capitalocene, (is) understood as a system of power, profit and re/production in the web of life". - Jason W. Moore (2017) The Capitalocene, Part I: on the nature and origins of our ecological crisis, The Journal of Peasant Studies, 44:3, 594-630, DOI: 10.1080/03066150.2016.125036
**It is true that we need to differentiate groups of people and their accountability. But why wouldn't we describe capitalists, CEOs as "normal people?" In what sense? Isn't change and disaster caused by corporations human change?** When it comes to the need to differentiate, I am adding this quote/question:
> This kind of Anthropocene narrative has no answer to the question of why, if an undifferentiated anthropos is responsible for burning fossil fuels in sufficient quantities to heat up the planet’s atmosphere, it didn’t do so before 1800. >
"Crisis, Which Crisis? Climate Change and Capitalism." The Raymond Williams Society.
"normal people",> Moore' Capitalocene is a far more useful term than Anthropocene because now that we think about it, the term anthropocene, incorrectly allows for an unwanted inclusive term for "all humans." This term is the implying that the current degradation of the planet is a result of (all) human(s) actions. However, Indigenous communities although a part of the anthropo should be clumped in this definition, it is in short, blaming them as well which is not correct, which is simply because they have not contributed to extractions/dispossessions and habitat degradation, but they are still included in the definition of anthropocene unlike Capitalocene.
> Note: it is important to note that the Anthropocene or "Capitalocene" described not just cause (therefore the debate on blame, inclusion and accountability) but also effects. In this sense, when it comes to effects they are rather inescepeable. What is interesting, however, is that similarly to the contributions to the phenomenon of climate change its impact is not equally felt in different parts of the world or certain communities. Those with greater responsibility (for example, billionaires) tend to be more protected from the effects.
> Sharing similar comments as Avani and Marcos, Capitalocene seems as the word that fits better for the events occuring around the world. Anhtropocene is a collective as a whole, but the majority of greenhouse gases and deforestation occurs by large companies expanding manufacturing facilities to gain profit. With indigenous people, their culture is different to the capitalistic culture that has been built. They are self sustaining individuals who practice reciprocity with the environment around them listening to the plants and animals and respecting the spaces they share. A change in perspective such as human-centered-planet is a good description of what this world needs to transform to. We are a part of a larger ecosystem than the ones crawling by our feet or sharing the bodies of water. The interconnectedness of all species on this planet is what needs to be pushed and brought to more attention.
> As we think a long capitaloce we need also to pay attention to neo-liberalism aspect of the world today. Everything have been viewed in terms of market perspective including environmental conservation. For example, the indigenous people are constantly getting displaced from their lands and coastal regions by private investors, through the government. These private investors believe that environment can be conserved not by the natives but themselves. Most governments have also fallen on truck and privatized most environmental places.
## Extraction / Extractive Zone / Extractive State
Source: Gómez-Barris, Macarena. 2017. The Extractive Zone Social Ecologies and Decolonial Perspectives.
## Maintenance / Repair
> maintenance has taken on new resonance as a theoretical framework, an ethos, a methodology, and a political cause.
Mattern, Shannon. 2018. “Maintenance and Care.” Places Journal, November. https://doi.org/10.22269/181120.
> take erosion, breakdown, and decay, rather than novelty, growth, and progress, as our starting points
> Moving maintenance and repair back to the center of thinking around media and technology may help to develop deeper and richer stories of relationality to the technological artifacts and systems that surround us, positioning the world of things as an active component and partner in the ongoing project of buildign more humane, just, and sustainable collectives.The renewal of maintenance and care in the thoughts surrounding media and techonolgy must apply to several types of communites as well.
> When Mattern outlines that 'going further, we could imagine physical infrastructures that support ecologies of care — cities and buildings that provide the appropriate physical settings and resources for street sweepers and sanitation workers, teachers and social workers, therapists and outreach agents.'This brings maitenace at the human perception and activity. But Mattern asks, 'how can we position “care” as an integral value within the city’s architectures and infrastructures of criminal justice, designing systems and spaces for restoration rather than retribution?'I think empowering such sectors towards restoration di'
Steven J. Jackson, “Rethinking Repair,” in Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo Boczkowski, and Kirsten Foot, eds. Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality and Society. MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 2014. Page 234.
* Steven J. Jackson, “Rethinking Repair,” in Tarleton Gillespie, Pablo Boczkowski, and Kirsten Foot, eds. Media Technologies: Essays on Communication, Materiality and Society. MIT Press: Cambridge MA, 2014.
* Mattern, Shannon. 2018. “Maintenance and Care.” Places Journal, November. https://doi.org/10.22269/181120.
In thinking about maps as a direct by-product colonialism, often even a cause of it. Maps now reconstruct and deconstruct our visual knowledge about cities, and countries which are made by data extraction. Have maps then intrinsically remained the same, or have they ##evolved?
@AvaniAshtekar A good starting point to think about this questions is this:
> the dream that reveals knowledge by bringing us to other places . . . In the human body, we naturally have a special engine that can bring us into contact with ancient knowledge . . . We have to speak and share this knowledge so that it does not get lost. From there, we can expand, feed, and better our spiritual thinking as a cooperative. That’s why, in one of my museum exhibitions, I put a simple label that says, “The spiritual instinct before reason.” The soul has an eye, a natural, instinctive spiritual perspective. Humanity must always place the spiritual before any sort of “logic.”
> That’s why I have always loved observing and learning, as do all the Mapuches. We love to gaze, to look at nature and the horizon. In our dreams, we voyage, and we might go elsewhere. We might look from above, from under the water, from under the earth, from inside of a tree, from within the air, or from within the currents of a river.
Francisco Huichaqueo Pérez
## Relationships / Relationality
> In my home territory, the principles of loving accountability and reciprocity are deeply embedded in Indigenous legal orders and relationships. What I have learned from these teachings, from mentors like Tracey Lindberg and Cree legal scholar Val Napoleon, is that reciprocity, love, accountability, and care are tools we require to face uncertain futures and the end of worlds as we know them. Indeed, this ability to face the past, present, and future with care — tending to relationships between people, place, and stories — will be crucial as we face the challenges of the Anthropocene, collectively, in our nations/societies/peoples, and in communities around the globe.
"Relationships" by Zoe Todd (pages 383 - 384) from "Anthropocene Unseen: a Lexicon"
In their "Care in the Time of Covid-19" text, Abigail H. Neely and Patricia J. Lopez write:**
While questions of care emerge with urgency in the midst of a crisis, attending to vulnerability as a collective response has long been central to literature on the ethics of care (Held 2006). At root, care ethics offers a response to neoliberalism’s ideological constructs of individualism, self-responsibilzation, and “boot strapping”. Instead, insisting upon an ontological **relationality** in which life rests on our entangled relationships
> I am also reminded of Michel Foucault's term "Biopolitics" when thinking about relationship between the state and the individual, and hospitals as institutions of care.
> Good point. We need to keep in mind how the provision of (health)care, or the protection of vulnerable groups (for example, refugees) is conditional and lays the ground for inclusion/exclusion based on certain criteria.
I am also reminded of Michel Foucault's term "Biopolitics" when thinking about relationship between the state and the individual, and hospitals as institutions of care.
In "Relationships" by Zoe Todd, Todd proposed that the only way we are able to face uncertain times is through reciprocity, love, accountability, and care are the tools we need (383).With this idea, how can an individual take it upon themselves to use these tools? I understand that a shift in perspective of being individulistic as I navigate this world is part of it, but are there ways to actively impliment these tools with the community around me?
* Abigail H. Neely and Patricia J. Lopez, “Care in the Time of Covid-19.” 2020. Antipode Online (blog). March 10, 2020. https://antipodeonline.org/2020/03/10/care-in-the-time-of-covid-19/
* "Relationships" by Zoe Todd (pages 381 - 387) from "Anthropocene Unseen: a Lexicon"
Genese Marie Sodikoff's text is obviously very timely and it raises some pressing questions about how we envision global effects and entanglements of not just humans and non-species but also climate conditions, technologies, information. "Zoonotic" is a term used to desribe diseases that "are caused by germs that spread between animals and people" according to the CDC:
Sodikoff, however, problematizes and expands the terms into a whole new range of possibilites, networks and entanglements of human and non-human agents. "Land-use changes, booming human and livestock populations,
global travel, biodiversity loss, random mutation, natural
selection, and even intentional bioterror are among the many factors that have opened this Pandora’s box." she says (page 529). These ecological changes contribute to the
"Recent outbreaks such as sars (probably from horseshoe bats), mers (from camels), bird flu (from poultry), Ebola (possibly from fruit bats),
bubonic plague (from rats and other rodents), and Zika (possibly
from rhesus monkeys)," all of which demonstrate how human and insect
vectors can spread diseases rapidly and over oceans and emerge because of habitat loss and other changes that introduce infected animals to new habitats.
The spread of disease from animals to humans has always been one that I have found to be interesting. SOme questions that I have had was how this is connected to the change in climate and how or what we can do to reverse it. However, it does not help to see that there have been other outbreaks centuries ago when the climate was in a much better constition than it is today. I find it even more interesting that we currently going through a pandemic of COVID that has been rumored to be a disease that may be found in bats (I have yet to read any credible sources that confirm this rumor but it is still very intersting in the context of this topic).
What I find to be the most scary is the fact that humans seem to be at the very top of the list when it comes to ruining the planet and contributing to the climate change. Evidently, it seems that humans are also the most negatively affected by these diseases that are possibly spread through animals.
Sodikoff also creatively inteprets and contextualizes (page 530), in a way that definitely reflects our current Covid-19 moment of tech-enabled (mis)information, the concept of "viral chatter:" Victims of Covid-19 are tested with limited information of the disease whether it emerges from nature or biotech paradigm.
> I like the double entendre of viral chatter. It points to an internal
> relationship between rising pathogenesis in ecosystems
> and rumors about disease outbreaks circulated in the media
> and in conversation. The association of microbial activity with
> Internet memes about the cause of outbreaks or the means of
> transmission is not merely metaphorical. Computer technology
> is, after all, sustained through the extraction of rare earth and
> industrial minerals from tropical forest regions.
There are many layers to unpack and many threads, some of which directly lead to our current moment and experiences of the pandemic, to follow in the term "**viral chatter**." If "disease rumors that go viral confound public health responses" then we can also think about viral/toxic social media, propaganda, concpiracy theories but also restrictive policies, surveillance infrastructure, dissemination of scientific knowledge as confounding elements of -more and less effective- public health responses to the pandemic.
Some scholars have branded these zoonotic infections the term **perfect storm** to evoke a sense of anomaly and unpredictability in their nature however, the repeated emergence of new zoonotic infections and the resurgence of old infections underscores the reality that global epidamics should be expected and their harms anticipated. Zoonotic diseases are not discrete events; they reflect complex ecosytem changes that are largely driven by human behavior (Brandt and Botelho, 2020).
In the setting of anthropogenic climate change, perfect storm language elides important conversations about our resposibility for the frequency of both emerging zoonoses and extreme weather events-as well as the disproportionate effects of these crises on the world most vulnerable people.
Sodikoff starts with the way humans have colonized evolutionary time (529). Scientist have altered time with disrupting the evolution of animal and insect species that adapt depending on environment they pertain to. The goal for this science is to prevent pandamecis, but with human intervention and elimination of many species, we are creating a reality of pandamics. In previous readings, we were informed about the most vulnerable people or the people that tend to release less waste are always most impacted. In that similar sense, nature and animals that have been tested on and executed are the vulnerable species in this case. The destruction of habitats caused by land devolpment and industry gain expose the pathogens that are native to the environment.
Through Galloway's perspective of the Arapawa Sheep, she offers insight of two species that interact, humans and sheep. It almost seemed as if the relationship was similar to a dog. You both are connected in a way that informs one another of what you need. The dog can sense when the owner may need some company, so it goes and comforts the owner. As well as, when the dog wants to get attention, he reaches out for your hand to pet it. This idea of being connected and cohabitating a space knowing one another's actions and voice allows for a mutual understanding. Galloway describes it as, "the sheep have domesticated me into their world as well:they are the first and last thing to which I tend everyday"(205). She goes on and introduces that inorder to move away from anthropocentrism is humility (205).
As a species that has evolved over time to, we have created a superiority complex. Flock has made me think more on how we may have lost our perspective on the species we see one another and how each plant or animal has their form of communication.This loss of perspective may be a product of the capatilistic world we live in.
## जाग/जागा / Place / Space
जाग/जागा - ईथे खूप जगा आहें आणी त्या जागे ला मी नहीं गेले: “जगा” हा शब्द डोनहि, “स्पेस” आणी “प्लेस” ह्या साथी वापरला जातो। ईथे हे कलत की मराठी भाषेत जगा आसह्नेया चा अर्थ हाँ एक अच आहें। म्हहणुन इंग्रजी भाशे सारखा द्वैत मराठित नहीं।
Translation to the text from *Marathi* to English:
Place/Space - There is a lot of space here and I haven't been to that place: "place/space" have a one single word in marathi, meaning both words can be used depending on the usage.
Here we see that in *Marathi* language, that lies an understanding that in order for there to be place that has to be space (space does not necessarily indicate that the space is empty) and when there is space, it results in there being some sort of place (may or may not be indentified by the humans as a place).This in my opinion disturbs the "western" conception of the dichotomous perception of a duality, but also puts into question the notion of "placemaking."