‘Future Fossils: Phenomenology and the Crises of Time in the Anthropocene’

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Prof. Ted Toadvine (Penn State) at Royal Holloway (RHUL) Centre for Continental Philosophy online research seminar – 21 January 2022.

The first session of the Royal Holloway Centre for Continental Philosophy research seminar for the Spring term will take place on Friday, January 21st from 2pm-3.30pm GMT. Prof. Ted Toadvine (Penn State) will be presenting the paper entitled ‘Future Fossils: Phenomenology and the Crises of Time in the Anthropocene.’ The seminar will be online (via MS Teams) – if you would like to attend, please email Henry Somers-Hall ([email protected]).

RHUL Centre for Continental Philosophy
Prof. Ted Toadvine (Penn State)
‘Future Fossils: Phenomenology and the Crises of Time in the Anthropocene’
21 January 2022 – Online

Debates over the proposal to name our current geological epoch the Anthropocene make salient the challenges of relating human lived time to deep geological time. As postcolonial historian Dipesh Chakrabarty has put it, “The geologic now of the Anthropocene has become entangled with the now of human history.” This leads him to distinguish the “global” calendar of human history from the unthinkably vast and inhuman geological span of the “planetary.” A central challenge of the Anthropocene is to think the collapse or the breach of these two temporal registers. Following the lead of speculative realism, Chakrabarty relegates the phenomenological tradition to the sidelines for its inability to engage with deep time or to grant the human species its place within the evolutionary history of life. I challenge this claim by illuminating the apocalyptic narrative that frames Anthropocene time, imagining us in the role of future paleontologists studying our own fossil remains. By framing our implication in deep time as “immiscible chronologies,” this narrative obscures the plexities of our relation to evolutionary and geological pasts. This reopens the question of the relation between the Planet—which, in its radical otherness, is never our own—and the Earth as the archive of elemental and evolutionary memory.

You can find more information about the Centre, as well as details of the other talks this term here: https://www.royalholloway.ac.uk/research-and-teaching/departments-and-schools/philosophy/research/centre-for-continental-philosophy/

If you asked to be put on the mailing list for the CCP, but haven’t received an email about this session directly from Henry Somers-Hall, please do get in contact to make sure you’re on the list going forward.