Introduction: Uncanny objects in the Anthropocene

Hannah Stark, Katrina Schlunke, Penelope Edmonds

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Abstract

The Anthropocene has rendered the familiar strange and the strange familiar. As David Farrier suggests, ‘Surely the "sublime" is not the right way to characterise our visceral response to [the Anthropocene]. The "uncanny" might serve us better’ (np). The papers in this interdisciplinary collection consider what the era of the Anthropocene means for how we critically, artistically and affectively approach objects. In line with contemporary critical reevaluations of the liveliness of objects (Bennett, Vibrant; Brown), this collection brings together things which are dead and/or alive, human and/or nonhuman, sensate and/or insensate, fantastical and/or historical, natural and/or cultural, spectacular and/or mundane. These objects are here re-enlivened in order to expose alternative ways of knowing the past, understanding this anthropocentric present, and imagining the role of humans in shaping environmental futures. In this way, the collection interrogates present and future problems — species mass-extinction, climate change, anthropogenic environmental impact — in relation to how the past is re-imagined, interpreted, commemorated, subverted and displayed. The collection considers human history in relation to the deep histories of nonhuman time and the more-than-human effects that a human-centred approach have often ignored or hidden. We are interested not only in objects as products of the Anthropocene, but in how the Anthropocene uncanny invites us to re-consider histories and objects in new and unexpected ways.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-30
Number of pages9
JournalAustralian Humanities Review
Issue number63
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018
Externally publishedYes

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