Searching for the Anthropocene: A Journey Into the Environmental Humanities



Debated, denied, unheard of, encompassing: The Anthropocene is a vexed topic, and requires interdisciplinary imagination.

Starting at the author's home in rural northern Michigan and zooming out to perceive a dizzying global matrix, Christopher Schaberg invites readers on an atmospheric, impressionistic adventure with the environmental humanities. Searching for the Anthropocene blends personal narrative, cultural criticism, and ecological thought to ponder human-driven catastrophe on a planetary scale.

This book is not about defining or settling the Anthropocene, but rather about articulating what it's like to live in the Anthropocene, to live with a sense of its nagging presence--even as the stakes grow higher with each passing year, each oncoming storm.

Product Details

Bloomsbury Academic
Publish Date
December 12, 2019
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About the Author

Christopher Schaberg is Dorothy Harrell Brown Distinguished Professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans, USA. He is the author of The Textual Life of Airports (2013), The End of Airports (2015), Airportness (2017), and The Work of Literature in an Age of Post-Truth (2018), all published by Bloomsbury.


"Moving nimbly between personal narrative and academic theory, Christopher Schaberg locates the Anthropocene in compelling, illustrative sites--from the sand dunes of his Michigan childhood where he gathered stones derived from 350-million-year-old coral to the new billion-dollar airport terminal being built, ill-advisedly, just above sea level in his current home of New Orleans. This is an elegantly-written book that guides us through the dizzying epiphanies of scale, co-implication, and self-recognition that the Anthropocene concept demands." --Nicole Seymour, Associate Professor of English and Environmental Studies Program Advisor, California State University, Fullerton, USA, and author of Bad Environmentalism: Irony and Irreverence in the Ecological Age (2018)

"Christopher Schaberg wanders Michigan's north woods and far flung airfields to lyrically ferret out the absurdity of the 'Anthropocene.' Schaberg shows how Homo sapiens are no longer in charge of anything, despite our terrifying and irreversible wounding of a planet reeling from climate change. It's a coin-toss whether there will be anything around at the end of the next decade capable of reading this fine book." --Doug Peacock, author of Grizzly Years (1996) and Walking It Off (2005)

"Searching for the Anthropocene is a lyrical reckoning with what it means to love and remember talismanic places in a time when the very foundations of our environmental consciousness have shifted. In this restless search from the shores of Michigan to New Orleans, what Schaberg finds are the contours of a new Nature, one etched with both the tragedy and beauty of human activity." --James Barilla, Associate Professor of English, University of South Carolina, USA, and author of My Backyard Jungle: The Adventures of an Urban Wildlife Lover Who Turned His Yard into Habitat and Learned to Live with It (2013)

"Christopher Schaberg embarks on a captivating personal journey that effortlessly weaves experiences in the natural world with the unresolved landscapes of the Anthropocene. He's a competent guide through the quixotic stories we tell ourselves in an attempt to tame a future that terrifies us." --Ozzie Zehner, author of Green Illusions (2012)

"What sort of home-makers have we become now we are living so at large in the world? Christopher Schaberg's vivid and original sketchbook reflections on anthropogenic change, as it has transformed the landscapes of once rural Michigan and as it has created a new and defining world habitat in airports and air travel, are really worth having. Here, in his book, academic theoretical thinking that has stirred and shaken our understanding of how we now live in modern nature is usefully tested in the remnant wild, as it were, by being taken for a walk along a polluted beach or by waiting with the rest of us in the economy lounge. Mostly the news is bad, but Schaberg's smart and fine writing answers the still relevant question Bertolt Brecht posed in a mid-20th-century poem: 'Will there be singing in the dark times?'--'Yes, there will be singing--about the dark times.'" --Tim Dee, author of Four Fields (2013), Landfill (2018), and Greenery (2020)