Roy Scranton is the author of the novel War Porn (Soho Press, 2016) and the philosophical essay Learning to Die in the Anthropocene (City Lights, 2015). His journalism, essays, fiction, poetry, and reviews have been published in The Nation, Rolling Stone, the New York Times, LIT, Boston Review, Prairie Schooner, Los Angeles Review of Books, Contemporary Literature, The Appendix, and elsewhere. He is also one of the editors of Fire and Forget: Short Stories from the Long War (Da Capo, 2013). He holds a Ph.D. in English from Princeton and an M.A. from the New School for Social Research, and teaches creative writing in the Department of English at the University of Notre Dame.
16 February 2016
The New Nature
Nature has always been political. The human-nature binary has shaped politics for centuries, centuries that saw a handful of Western European nations and the United States (read, “human”) dominate the rest of the world (read, “nature”) through resource extraction, fossil-fueled industrialization, slavery, genocide, and war. That domination hasn’t ended, but the Manichaean ideology behind it has been unsettled by climate change and undermined by the idea of the Anthropocene: that Homo sapiens is now a geologic force. “Humans” are radically reshaping “nature,” whether we like it or not. What this means for human agency is perhaps the most urgent challenge the Anthropocene poses.