Posthumanism and the anthropocene

Hannes Bergthaller*, Eva Horn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


Similar to posthumanist theory, the concept of the Anthropocene as a new geological epoch dissolves traditional distinctions between nature and culture. In its original formulation by the Earth system sciences, however, the concept treats the anthropos to whom the ongoing transformation of the Earth system is attributed as a black box. This chapter argues that neither the Earth system sciences nor traditional humanist or established posthumanist understandings of the human are in themselves sufficient to render a full account of this anthropos; doing so requires assembling knowledge of human and natural history from across a range of disciplines. James C. Scott's concept of the domus complex as site of early state-making and Peter K. Haff's concept of the technosphere are discussed as providing possible templates for such a narrative of humanity in the Anthropocene. Both describe humans as entrained within larger-scale systems whose dynamic they are unable to control, thus raising the question of the scope within which autonomous human agency can be exercised.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPalgrave Handbook of Critical Posthumanism
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9783031049583
ISBN (Print)9783031049576
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov 28


  • Domestication
  • Earth system science
  • Human evolution
  • Neolithic revolution
  • Philosophical anthropology
  • Technosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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