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Beyond the Anthropocene: Climate Crisis, New Ontologies and Alternatives to the Anthropocentric Modernity – until April 10, 2022

Editors: António Carvalho, Mariana Riquito

Deadline for submissions: April 10, 2022

Keywords: Anthropocene, climate crisis, ontology, modernity

The term “Anthropocene” was coined in 2000 by Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer to designate our current geological epoch. This concept – which literally means the “Age of Humans” –, reflects the central role of the human species as a geological force capable of modifying the biophysical, geological and ecological processes of the Earth system (Latour, 2014; Swyngedouw and Ernstson, 2018), illustrated by phenomena such as climate change, extreme weather events, mass extinctions and deforestation.

Despite its academic popularity which is transversal to the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities alike –, the Anthropocene is not a formally defined geological unit on the geological time scale. Within the social sciences and the environmental humanities, some critical authors (Klein, 2014; Malm and Hornborg, 2014; Moore, 2016) have been denouncing the depoliticizing character of this term as it reinforces the idea that all humans have been equally responsible for the current socioecological degradation. By reinforcing this idea of a homogenized “Humanity”, this concept camouflages global North/South asymmetries and overshadows the inequalities between the proletariat and the socioeconomic elites.

Consequently, new concepts have emerged to illustrate some of the contradictions of the Anthropocene, such as “Capitalocene” (Moore, 2016), “Plutocene” (Solón, 2019), “Mantropocene” (Raworth, 2014), or even “Technocene” (Hornborg, 2015) and “Wasteocene” (Armiero, 2021). These terms place the onus of responsibility for climate change, respectively, on the logic of capital and profit, on the concentration of power in the hands of an elite, on the patriarchal power structure, and on the destructive logic of techno-scientific industrial extractivist capitalism. By attending to dimensions such as class, capital, gender and race/ethnicity, these proposals highlight the global power asymmetries, thus allowing us to rethink the dynamics of the Anthropocene. Pondering concern over the articulation between humans and non-humans, Donna Haraway (2015) argues that those concepts, although critical, remain hostage of modern dichotomies by neglecting non-human agency. In this sense, Haraway advances the term “Chthulucene”, drawing our attention to the interspecies entanglements and the active role played by centralising non-humans in the constitution of narratives around the Anthropocene. In doing so, the author rescues them from the state of ontoepistemological subalternity generated by modern extractivism.

In light of this vast conceptual repertoire, it is urgent to develop critical academic research interrogating the controversial nature of the term Anthropocene, by looking into how different actors, movements, institutions and their diverse epistemological and political situationalities position themselves vis-à-vis the climate crisis. This special issue’s aim is to stimulate, on the one hand, reflection regarding different terminological and theoretical declinations around the Anthropocene and, on the other hand, to support this reflection through concrete examples of struggles, alternatives and movements that challenge the hegemonic narrative of the Anthropocene.

Following the critical research line of the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra, we intend to bring into dialogue theoretical and practical contributions that raise questions and challenge the limits of a capitalist, extractivist, anthropocentric and patriarchal modernity. We welcome contributions from authors working in the social sciences, humanities and political sciences, as well as from activists and artists to discuss, analyse and deepen some (but not limited to) of these topics:

  • Capitalocene versus Anthropocene; extractivism, capitalism, (neo)imperialism, (neo)colonialism and the Anthropocene;

  • Epistemologies of the South and the Anthropocene; pluriverse and pluriversal politics; counter-hegemonic ontologies and the Anthropocene;

  • Radical political ecologies; decolonial political ecologies; black and indigenous ecologies; post-capitalist ecologies; ecofeminist political ecologies;

  • Degrowth; commons; post-development;

  • Rights of nature; human-animal studies; more-than-human relations; post-humanism;

  • Systemic alternatives; prefigurative politics;

  • Environmental and climate justice movements; socioecological conflicts and resistances; territorial struggles;

  • Indigenous worldviews; Buen Vivir; Sumak Kawsay;

  • The Anthropocene and the arts;

  • The COVID-19 pandemic and the Anthropocene.

We will also accept other non-scientific contributions such as book reviews or interviews that dialogue with the proposed themes and the general motto of the special issue. These contributions will be published in the @cetera section.

e-cadernos CES is a peer-reviewed, online and entirely open access journal, published by the Centre for Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (Portugal). The journal is currently indexed in CAPES, DOAJ, EBSCO, ERIH Plus and Latindex. For more information about this publication see

Texts should be presented in final version, in Portuguese, English, Spanish, or French. Manuscripts must be originals and not exceed 60,000 characters (with spaces), including notes and references. For the final section @cetera, other manuscripts may be submitted (up to 35,000 characters), such as interviews and discussions (up to 25,000 characters) or book reviews (up to 5,000 characters). The submitted manuscripts must not have been otherwise published in full or in part (in both print or digital format, in Portugal or abroad, in Portuguese or in any other language), or be presently under submission to any other publication.

Detailed guidelines for submitting texts are available at Manuscripts should be sent by email to and authors should clearly identify the thematic issue in question – “Beyond the Anthropocene”.

All manuscripts will go through a double-blind peer review process.


Armiero, Marco (2021), Wasteocene: Stories from the Global Dump. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Haraway, Donna (2015), “Chthulucene: Making Kin”, Environmental Humanities, 6, 159-165.

Hornborg, Alf (2015), The Political Ecology of the Technocene. London: Routledge.

Klein, Naomi (2014), This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. Climate. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Latour, Bruno (2014), “Agency at the Time of the Anthropocene”, New Literary History, 45(1), 1-18.

Malm, Andreas; Hornborg, Alf (2014), “The Geology of Mankind? A Critique of The Anthropocene Narrative”, Anthropocene Review, 1(1), 62-69.

Moore, Jason (2016), Anthropocene or Capitalocene? Nature, History and the Crisis of Capitalism. Oakland: PM Press.

Raworth, Kate (2014), “Must the Anthropocene be a Man-thropocene?”, The Guardian, 20 October. Accessed on 11.06.2019, at

Solón, Pablo (2019), “Introdução”, in Pablo Solón (org.), Alternativas sistêmicas: Bem Viver, decrescimento, comuns, ecofeminismo, direitos da Mãe Terra e desglobalização. São Paulo: Editora Elefante, 13-17.

Swyngedouw, Eric; Ernstson, Henrik (2018), “Interrupting the Anthropo-obScene: Immuno-biopolitics and Depoliticizing Ontologies in the Anthropocene”, Theory, Culture and Society, 35(6), 3-30.

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