Preface: The Anthropocene and the Challenge of Cultural Difference

  • Ursula K. Heise
Part of the Literatures, Cultures, and the Environment book series (LCE)


Over the last decade, the concept of the Anthropocene has imposed itself as a new framework for thinking and writing about environmental issues. The idea that humans have so pervasively reshaped global ecological systems that their impact will be visible in the geological strata to future observers, and that this transformation has ushered in a new geological epoch, has influenced environmental debates about ecological science, policies, and environmental narratives and cultures. Regardless of whether geologists will end up accepting or rejecting the term, the Anthropocene has turned humankind at large into the protagonist of a new deep-time narrative, generated heated debates over the merits of such a species narrative as opposed to an emphasis on economic and geopolitical inequality, and given rise to controversies over what kind of nature environmentalism should aim to conserve in this new framework.


Environmental Literature Ecological Science Green Party Geological Stratum Geological Epoch 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ursula K. Heise
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California at Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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